By Rebecca Henely
The young and old crowded about the Little Neck-Douglaston American Legion Post No. 103 on 235th Street on Veterans Day last Thursday to remember not only those lost but also those still fighting across the world.
“We do this every year so the people don’t forget,” Post Commander Walter Kares said.
The ceremony, attended by about 30 people, took place Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., the time when World War I, once believed to be “the war to end all wars,” officially ended. Kares said the American Legion was formed after the end of the war.
“The soul of the American Legion was born,” Kares said.
During the ceremony, members of the American Legion and local clergy said prayers and participated in a moment of silence.
“Today we remember with love and gratitude those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” said the Rev. Adrienne Flipse Hausch of the Community Church of Douglaston.
Many prayers were also said for peace throughout the world as the end of the first world war brought the hope of peace everywhere.
“Church bells rang, people rejoiced. Alas, it was not to be,” retired Rabbi Morton H. Pomerantz of Douglaston said.
The Rev. William McLaughlin of St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in Douglaston quoted from the Bible Isaiah 2:4: “They will beat swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
“Our prayers should always be for peace,” McLaughlin said.
He also mentioned those who were now fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We pray for those in the military now who serve their country valiantly,” McLauglin said.
Kares said the turnout was good this year, especially due to the sunny, cool weather.
Kares, who is in his 60s, was in the U.S. Navy at the time of the Vietnam War. Although he had not been stationed there, he said some who attended the ceremony were in their 80s and fought in World War II.
“We lose more members than we gain every year,” Kares said.
He said this ceremony was, along with the Memorial Day parade, the most important event for the Legion chapter.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.