TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

Veterans’ dinner a record-breaker

BLOOMINGBURG, NY — The Sullivan County Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) annual Veterans Day Dinner to honor veterans on November 6 was a record-breaker in terms of attendance. 
According to Sullivan County VFW Commander Peter Carmeci, 185 people turned out for the event, which was held at the Eagle’s Nest Restaurant that overlooks the Village of Bloomingburg.
In brief remarks to the attendees, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther saluted outgoing Congressman Chris Gibson, who is also a veteran, and who chose not to run for office again. 
Gold Star Mother Mabel Brucher, who lost a son in the Vietnam War in 1967, was honored with a citation from Al Etkin, adjutant of the Ruddick-Trowbridge American Legion Post #73 in Monticello.
Etkin explained that the Gold Star Mothers tradition dates back to 1929, and in 1936 congress determined that Gold Star Mothers Day would be observed on the last Sunday in September each year.
Brucher, who is 96 years old, said, “It’s been a good many years since Andy was killed, I seldom talk about it. If there are parents here who lost a child in the service, they know what a horrible time it can be. But we can either quit or go on, and the best thing to do to honor our loved ones is to go on.”
A POW/MIA table was setup to honor those still listed as missing in action. Long Eddy veteran Verl Ringgenberg explained the symbolism involved. He said, “It’s set for one, symbolizing the fact that some are missing from our ranks, they are referred to as prisoners of war or missing in action, we call them comrades.
“It’s small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his or her suppressors. The chair is empty, they are not here. The table cloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country’s call to arms. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those who are missing. A single red rose in the vase signifies the blood that many have shed and sacrificed to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.”
Carmeci noted that the remains of a serviceman  listed as missing for 65 years were returned home to Port Jervis on November 5. The remains of private first class William Giovanniello, who was killed in the Korean War in 1951, had been interred in a military cemetery in Hawaii. His remains were indentified with DNA testing; a motorcade was organized in his honor.


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