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White Plains Honors Veterans Day in Rural Cemetery

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- White Plains marked Veterans Day with a ceremony in the rural cemetery Friday where Sgt. Leo Kaplan, a World War II veteran, was honored for his bravery in Germany and continued commitment to fellow veterans.

Milton Hoffman, a member of the Jewish War Vets Post No. 191, spoke about how Kaplan left Chicago as a 22-year-old, was wounded while fighting beyond enemy lines, and continued to serve for years after the injury.

“He was wounded in Germany on Dec. 1, 1944 as part of an outright defense that began sweeping into Germany,” said Hoffman. “The notation on his separation papers reads, ‘Rifleman infiltrated enemy lines, destroying enemy equipment and personnel.’ After he was wounded and recovered, he continued to work in a quartermasters service battalion and remained in the army until the end of the war.”

Mayor Thomas Roach presented a proclamation recognizing Kaplan, who moved to White Plains 13 years ago, and the White Plains Jewish War Veterans Post. Roach also reminded residents to thank “those who took time out of their lives and sometimes even gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedom.”

The American flag was hoisted into the air as the Young Marines of White Plains began the ceremony. The middle school band then performed the national anthem, which was followed by the local Cub Scouts reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and poems read by Adele Zucker, the former president of the Jewish War Veterans Ladies Auxiliary, and Kayla Herstic, a local high school student.

Army Staff Sgt. Jon Gould, a Yonkers resident who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, concluded the ceremony by reminding more than 100 people gathered at the Sailors and Soldiers memorial of the importance of contributions by those who serve and have served in the armed forces.

“We few who made it past that day...must always remember and continue to teach so that the true heroes that we have the honor to walk among are simply not lost to the pages of history, but forever remembered in our hearts and in our children’s hearts,” said Gould, 31. “Every generation has been called upon and every generation has answered that call. Even though we may no longer wear a uniform or body armor and have to travel to foreign lands to defend our country, our service as veterans does not end when we separate from the military.”

Is there a veteran you know who deserves recognition? How did you mark Veterans Day? Join the conversation below.

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