Katonah Gathers To Honor Its Veterans And First Responders On Memorial Day

Coverage of Katonah's inspiring tribute to its Veterans on Memorial Day
Katonah Gathers to Honor its Veterans and First Responders on Memorial Day
Source - Photo by Rich Monetti

On Monday May 30, Katonah answered the call to arms on Memorial Day and came out in full force to honor our vets and first responders. But Katonah American Legion Commander Tom Cieslinski, did have doubts as to the possible turnout - despite the always strong showing.

"With the bad weather forecast," he said, "it was canceled, it was on, off again and then on. I figured nobody would be here, and to my surprise, this looked like the biggest gathering we've ever had."

In accordance, support - and a lack thereof - were central to supervisor Chris Burdick's address. "World War

II had universal backing from the American people and our appreciation never wavered for the soldiers who fought. But our Iraq and Vietnam Vets received little or no recognition. So I suggest we always draw a distinction between the motives of politicians and the dedication of those who serve," said Burdick. "They are all heroes who carried on and persevered just like our vets from World War II."

Julio Vasquez said as much - economizing his words in deference to all the valiant modesty on parade. "We just did what we had to do," said the Vietnam Vet who lives in Bedford Hills.

Susan Polos' father-in-law did just that and much more. Memorial Day is important to my husband because his father died during World War II, and this is his day to honor a man he never met," said the Katonah resident.

She also appreciates that the town gets it. "The support Katonah shows demonstrates that people understand the sacrifices that our vets have made," she continued.

Gathinja Yamokoski of Katonah can't claim that type of direct

family connection as a relatively new immigrant from Kenya but has no shortage of appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made. "I became a citizen last year. It was such an honor that I cried," she said. "I've grown so much as a person here and feel such a part of this country. Now I want to support anything that is American - especially our troops."

No such back story for most area kids, these festivities are essential to help create a similar pride, according to Kathy Kane of Katonah.  "It's important to honor our vets and first responders because they provide the right example of how to be good citizen," said Kane.

Tom Kendall of Maine was sure the message wasn't missed. "They provide an image of self sacrifice, service and being part of something bigger than themselves," he said.

On the other hand,  Mary Jane Fusco expressed relief and gratitude that men like her father had our backs. "If they weren't heroic who would take care of our country," she beamed with pride.

That leaves the easy part to us in the words of Cieslinski. "To me everyday is Memorial Day for us to honor our vets."

The Commander is right rain or shine.

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