Memorial Day Remembrances at Peace Plaza and Van Nest War Memorial

Memorial Day Remembrances at Peace Plaza and Van Nest War Memorial

By Robert Press

While they were two separate events these two Memorial Day events could be put together as one was right after the other in the 80th Assembly District. 

The Peace Plaza Memorial Day event began at 11 AM at the corner of Pelham Parkway and Williamsbridge Road with over one hundred people in attendance. There are 1.3 million soldiers who have died in wars America has been involved in. Veterans Joe Ronda and Gene De Francis have taken over the event after the passing of Silvio Mazzara. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and several veterans spoke on what Veterans Day means to each and everyone of them. Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez coming from another event arrived as the event was almost over and was able to speak. 

The Van Nest Memorial Day event began at 12:15 PM so that people could arrive from after the Peace Plaza ceremony. Rich Vitacco was the emcee for Van Nest event which also had Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez, and 80th Assembly District State Committeewoman Christine Culpepper (who was also at Peace Plaza). Vitacco and veterans Earl Menard Jr. and Richard Garcia read a story of a young Bronx man from the Van Nest area who joined the Air Force, and his story of being shot down over Germany by German fighter pilots during one of the B-17 Bomber raids by the Allied Armed Forces. 


Veteran Joe Ronda speaking with (L – R) Bronx DA Darcel Clark, a local veteran, Veteran Gene DeFrancis, Veteran Sammy Ravelo, and Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez standing in front of the Peace Plaza Memorial.


All turn to salute the flag as the National Anthem is sung by Ms. Grace Lovac. 



Vietnam Veteran Joseph Thompson speaks of being a child during World War II.




A reef is placed by the next to the headstones by the flag in honor of Memorial Day.


Rabbi Saadia Pewzner of the nearby Bronx Jewish Center says the closing prayer after a short story.


At the Van Nest Memorial Day event there was a parade around the War Memorial on White Plains Road.


Rich Vitacco speaks as on his left is Local post commander Richard Garcia and on his right (white shirt) is Bronx County Vice Commander Earl L. Menard Jr. with Bronx DA Darcel Clark, Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez, and 80th A.D. State Committeewoman Christine Culpepper.

Members of the John Frazer Bryan American Legion post pose with their banner in front of the Van Nest War Memorial.

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