Nov 11: A Day to Pay Tribute to Our Veterans (GALLERY)

By Lewis H. Goldstein

Yesterday at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month Americans of every race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and national background paid tribute to all who served our nation over the years.

It was an honor to see the many dedicated veterans at the ceremony at Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza and at the Van Nest Veterans Memorial Park. Both Bronx events were marked by solemn words, words of sincere recognition and a spirit of being grateful to those who served. At each event there were veterans who served in World War II, The Korean War, The Viet-Nam War,The Two Gulf wars, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Joseph Garofalo, Veteran WW 11

Joseph Garofalo, Veteran WW 11

I was honored to speak to Joe Garofalo who served valiantly in World War 11. Mr. Garofalo was a petty officer second class for the Navy’s Seabees attached to the fourth Marine Division. He fought and participated in three invasions in the South Pacific Theater. He fought on the Japanese held islands of Kwajelin, Saipan and Tinian. When he spoke at the ceremony he spoke in very visual detail about the many losses he saw. He related stories of buddies who were killed fighting for our nation in WWII.

Mr. Garofalo plans to write a book about his days in the US Army and his pride as a veteran. He is looking for somebody to help him. If you are interested please contact me at The Bronx Chronicle. His is a story that has to be told. He is a man of valor. He is a man who fights endlessly for our veterans, their endeavors during war and for our community and nation. Mr. Garofalo has a vast collection of memorabilia from all four branches of our military. He has Nazi motorcycle gloves, a knife made out of the propeller of a downed Japanese plane and many other items brought home by Bronx veterans over the years.

Other vererans who spoke were James Hexner, Korean War: Garland Roberts and Chris Costanzo, Viet-Nam War and Jeremy Warneke, Iraq. Another speaker was Tony Vitaliano who served in the Third Armored Division in Germany. He is presently Chair of CB # 11. Elected officials present were Assemblymen Mike Benedetto and Mark Gjonaj. Tommy Messina represented Congressman Joe Crowley. This event was organized by the Morris Park Community Association.



 By Omesh Persaud

20141111-_IGP8479The Van Nest Part event, held at the WW1 monument,  was a solemn event jointly hosted by the East Bronx History Forum and the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance.

Each year local veterans originating from the neighborhood are honored for their valor and service to our nation.

Among the honorees this year were: Arthur M. Moriondo, Edward Moriondo, Private Charles R. Linquanti and Seargent Joseph Ronda.

From Rich Vitacco of The East Bronx History forum:

“Arthur M. Moriondo was a radio man on a Ventura PBY-141. He was stationed at Hato Field in Curacao when his flight went down on December 22, 1943. He is still listed as MIA. However, his brother Edward Moriondo and sister Elda Corcoran (Moriondo) had a memorial service for Arthur back in 2006 at Arlington along with a granite grave marker to honor his service and duty to our country” The intent was to present Edward Moriondo with a plaque unbeknownst to him. Unfortunately, the Moriondo family was unable to attend the services today. Both plaques will be sent to them.”

“Private Charles R. Linquanti collectively spent three months in basic training, five months training as a rifleman and six months as a cannoneer. Additionally, he took engineering under the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) at John Tarleton College in Stephanville, Texas for seven and-a-half months (August 1943-March 1944). It was at this point in Texas where Charles met up with Jack McElroy. They were part of the 394th Infantry Regiment. He meet Jack McElroy in Texas and they traveled to Boston where they were shipped out to England. Battle of the Bulge starts on Dec. 16, 1945, they were taken as POWs the next day. It took them two weeks to get to their POW camp in Heidenau, Germany. They unloaded coal from barges on the Elba River. They were 120 pounds upon release down from 180. They were released in May 1945. Charles R. Linquanti went on to become a New York City police officer serving in the 5th Precinct in Chinatown and the Bowery, a precinct in East Harlem and finally the precinct from which he retired from, the 67th on the Upper East Side.”

“Sergeant Joseph Ronda enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserves in February 1998 and attended the Marine Corps Recruit Training from May to August 1998 at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. He entered Recruit Training with the rank of Private First Class (E-2). Upon completion of Marine Combat Training, he attended the Marine Corps Communications & Electronics School in Twenty Nine Palms, California in September 1998. Sgt. Ronda was a Unit Level Circuit Switch Operator & Maintainer in the Marine Corps as well as a Field Wireman.  When asked about his motivation for military service, Sgt. Ronda told me it was his brother wearing his sea cadet uniform and his father’s military service from when he was a Marine in the 1950s that had an impact. At present, Sgt. Ronda is active with the Star of the Sea Cadet Corps, which he joined in 1985. He speaks fondly of the Cadet Corps when he stated “I’d like to see the cadets succeed in life, whatever their goals may be. I’d like to see some cadets be as motivated as I have always been so down the line I can pass the command down to the next generation.” To that end, Sgt. Ronda has reason to be proud considering one of his cadets had graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy.”

All in all, it was a wonderful way to celebrate the valor and sacrifices made by our veterans on all of our behalf.

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