More than 1,000 of Nassau’s veterans and their spouses attended Nassau County’s Annual Veterans Picnic in Eisenhower Park last week – many of whom also attended a POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony earlier in the day. At the ceremony, a torch was lit symbolizing POW/MIAs in all wars.
County Executive Ed Mangano said it was a privilege to welcome those in attendance to take part in this solemn tradition.
“National POW/MIA Recognition Day is about keeping the promise of remembrance for the safe return of American Prisoners of War and those still Missing In Action,” Mangano said. “Nassau County is proud to observe National POW/MIA Recognition Day this month, with this ceremony, and by flying the POW/MIA flag.”
Nassau Veterans Service Agency Commissioner and Master of Ceremonies, Ralph Esposito opened the ceremony by saluting the Officer of the Day and giving orders to the Color Guard to advance, and present the colors. This was followed, first, by an invocation by Rev. Robert Dawley, the Pledge of Allegiance by VSA Deputy Commissioner, Scott Castillo and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner by Legislator Schaefer.
Afterward, the names of the Missing in Action – including 17 from Nassau County – were read. The list included the unaccounted service members from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, and the War on Terror.
Mangano added, “We honor the sacrifice of Prisoners Of War and those who have gone Missing In Action under our nation’s flag. Even though their fates are still unknown, they are no less our heroes. We salute their service to our nation, protecting our precious freedoms.”
At the picnic – which was sponsored by Winthrop University Hospital – Veterans Service Agency staff provided literature on benefits available to veterans, while the USO Liberty Belles, and Full House, performed.