Village of Malverne hosts weekend events to honor vets


The Village of Malverne honored veterans with a number of activities over the Veterans Day weekend. The celebration began with a ceremony at Chester A. Reese Veterans Memorial Park on Nov. 9.

Malvernite and Vietnam War veteran Col. John J. Hassett, who served in the U.S. military for 39 years, said that Veterans Day is commonly confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who died in battle.

“In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank the living veterans for their dedicated and loyal service, thereby ensuring our freedom,” Hassett said.

Malverne Mayor Patti Ann McDonald presented a proclamation to Hassett and his wife, Dr. Carol Hassett, who is a member of the American Legion Malverne Post 44 and Ladies Auxiliary Unit 44, to recognize the centennial of Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.

McDonald said that veterans’ sacrifices should never go unnoticed, and that it is important to honor them as they cope with the physical and mental challenges that remain long after their years in service.

“Some of their wounds may be invisible, but the pain is very real,” McDonald said. “But our veterans have never taken the easy way out. They have gone above and beyond their duty as citizens to volunteer their lives and their livelihoods and to answer their country’s call. While the stories may vary, there is one clear commonality that you will find among them, and that is the desire to sacrifice.”

McDonald added that she, along with several of the village’s board trustees, visited students in the Malverne School District for Veterans Day presentations. Many of the students created posters to recognize veterans. “It’s so important that the youth today should be reminded of how important it is for them to know the sacrifice that all of our veterans have made,” she said.

Some children showed appreciation of that sacrifice at an annual benefit dinner to honor veterans from both Malverne and Lynbrook last Saturday at the Lynbrook VFW Hall, when they performed the “Marines’ Hymn” and “God Bless America.” Tim Sullivan, the event’s organizer, began the benefit seven years ago after learning that his brother-in-law, Marine Sgt. Sean Ledwith, had postponed his college career to serve in Kosovo and Iraq.

“The purpose of this is to recognize some of the younger veterans in the community and to connect them with the VFW and the American Legion,” Sullivan said, “and to refill the ranks of those institutions who have given so much to our community.”

Proceeds from the event initially went to the Wounded Warriors Project, an organization that raises awareness about the needs of injured war veterans and enlists civilians to help provide services and programs. But now, Sullivan said, he wanted to support local causes, and the proceeds go to capital projects for the VFW and American Legion.

While he regrets never serving in the U.S. military, he said, his brother-in-law told him that he could help in other ways. “I try to promote that to people in the community . . . that this is their opportunity to serve,” Sullivan said.

Lynbrook Mayor Alan Beach, who attended the dinner, said that all veterans — whether they were in World War I or any of the wars since — should be recognized. “There are so many other wars that our veterans have served to keep this country safe for us to pray, and do as we want to do,” Beach said. “They’re ordinary people that are putting down their life, leaving their family and their job, and going away to serve.”

Last Sunday, members of Malverne Post 44, along with residents, gathered at Chester A. Reese Veterans Memorial Park once more to take part in the “Bells of Peace” ceremony. At 11 a.m., bells were rung 21 times — similar to a 21-gun salute — in remembrance of Armistice Day.