By Patrick Rocchio, Bronx Times
Some deceased veterans from Pelham Bay will get the recognition they deserve.
Congressman Joseph Crowley and Councilman Jimmy Vacca joined with members of the Lawrence F. Keane American Legion Post #1458 on Sunday, October 24 at the war memorial in Keane Square Park to announce the addition of 18 new names into the monument which celebrates the sacrifices of deceased veterans.
The names of the veterans, recently deceased members of the Keane Post and the Pelham Bay community that served in the armed forces during the Korean War era, were put onto the memorial through funding from Crowley’s office. The monument, which sits in the newly revitalized park, was erected in 1969.
“It is never too late to say thank you,” Crowley said. “I think today is a fitting time to remember these 18 individuals, who thankfully did not die in battle, but were ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom in foreign wars.”
The Keane Post, which is located at 2879 Buhre Avenue, reached out to Councilman Jimmy Vacca for a similar addition to the war monument two and a half years ago, when ten new names were engraved. Since that time, the cost of engraving new names onto the memorial has risen substantially, and Vacca reached out to Crowley for funding. The names cappear at the rear of the memorial near Westchester, Hobart and Buhre avenues.
Vacca said that he feels that it is an appropriate way to honor the sacrifices of men who served their country and then returned home to raise families and work to make America strong.
He said that he works with the Keane Post and its present commander Lou Durante, and when he gets a significant number of names, he then works to raise the money for the engraving. Vacca said that in addition to Congressman Crowley’s funding, they also received a donation from Ralph Giordano and Sons Funeral Home at 1727 Crosby Avenue.
“We are officially dedicating 18 newly inscribed names of the people from our community who served in war, serving our country, who have now passed on,” Vacca said. “The Lawrence F. Keane Post, Lou Durante commander, spearheaded this effort to make sure that these men are never forgotten.”
In addition to Congressman Crowley and Ralph Giordano and Sons, Vacca also thanked the Pelham Bay Merchants Association. Keane Post vice commander Lou Pagnotta said that he felt it necessary to reach out to elected officials for help. Originally, the memorial was just for members of the Lawrence Keane Post, but has since been opened to all members of the community, and there are many more names that can now be inscribed on it.
Commander Louis Durante said that the three of the new names on the monument are brothers of men who attended the announcement ceremony. He said that it is very important to the families that they be memorialized for their service to their country.
“Three of the names are brothers of ours,” Durante said. “It makes families feel good that the sacrifices their family member made for this country will be remembered. As the years go by, people sometimes forget.”