RYE, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joined thousands on Sunday at Rye Playland to celebrate the county’s annual Veterans Appreciation Day.
The day began with a parade led by the Pipes and Drums of the Police Emerald Society of Westchester and the Civil Air Patrol Color Guard. Once at the main stage on the midway, Ronald Tocci, director of the Westchester County Veterans Service Agency, hosted the patriotic proceedings, which included musical tributes, a 21-gun salute and taps as well as remarks from the county executive.“We gather here today, blessed to have the opportunity to say thank you, in person, to our veterans and your families; we consider all of you heroes,” said Astorino. “Memorial Day is, of course, a somber day for reflection and gratitude for those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Anybody who has spent time with a veteran knows that as far as they’re concerned, the true heroes are the fallen buddies lost on battlefields far away.”
The county executive ended his remarks by announcing an event at the Kensico Dam Plaza on Oct. 3 that will recognize Westchester veterans who served during the Vietnam era, which began 50 years ago this year. Astorino also announced a special honor to be presented to those veterans this fall.“Westchester County has commissioned the creation of a medal to be distributed to every Westchester County veteran who was activated during the Vietnam era,” said Astorino. “We will also be presenting the medal posthumously to the families of those Westchester veterans no longer with us. Vietnam veterans have suffered physically, emotionally and socially for far too long, and this is just another step towards correcting half a century of wrongs.”
In the coming weeks, the Veterans Service Agency will announce registration procedures for veterans to receive their medals, and a press conference will be held to unveil the design of the specially commissioned medal itself.