by Scott Salotto
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Rockland County Veterans Service Agency Director Jerry Donnellan today honored five local World War II veterans - brothers from two different families - as they prepare to take part in this weekend's Hudson Valley Honor Flight to Washington DC.
The American heroes, all in their late 80's to mid 90's, will fly to the Nation's Capital on Saturday to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
"It's a true honor and a privilege to meet these brave men and thank them for their valiant service to our nation," said Day. "Unfortunately, they have not always received the recognition they deserve."
The mission of the national Honor Flight Network is to transport U.S. military veterans to Washington, D.C. at no cost to the retired service members. Veterans typically visit Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Said Day, "It's been said that any nation that forgets its veterans ceases to be a great nation. Here in Rockland County, we remain committed to ensuring the heroes of World War II and other fields of struggle receive the benefits and the honor they have earned."
Each of the following veterans were presented with pins symbolic of their time in World War II:
- Edward Kwiecinski, 95, of Stony Point served in the U.S. Army as a T5 truck driver
- Charles Kwiecinski, 88, of Stony Point served in the U.S. Navy as an aircraft captain on the U.S.S. Monterey CVL26
- Richard Kwiecinski, 86, of Stony Point served in the U.S. Army occupation force
- Vincent Terribile, 92, of Nanuet served in the U.S. Army with the 100th Division
- Michael Terribile, 88, of New City served as Corporal in the 5th Marine Division 28th Regiment
Donnellan said, "Piermont was the embarkation point for thousands of G.I.s deployed to Europe and North Africa during the height of World War II. And, with the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion only a few weeks away, this honor - in this location - is especially appropriate."
The first Honor Flight took place in May 2005, when six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio, taking 12 World War II veterans on a visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain, started the nonprofit program to honor veterans. More than 16 million served in the U.S. armed forces between 1939 and 1945. More than 400,000 American soldiers died. For more, visit www.HonorFlight.org.