The World War II Navy man and this year’s Memorial Day guest speaker, on the work of veterans organizations, the meaning of the day and remembering our veterans.
A little background. When and where did you serve during World War II?
I joined the Navy in 1940 and went to radio school in Noroton, Connecticut. I served in Panama with the Navy from July 1941 to December 1944, and then came back to the states and served as a radio technician at NAMU Johnsville, Penn. I was discharged in September 1945. I was at Naval Air Station Cocosolo in the canal zone where I was an Aviation Radio Technician 1st Class, in charge of communications, on the base itself, and taking care of aircraft coming in.
What will you be speaking about on Monday?
I’ll be speaking about Memorial Day, just about Memorial Day. Its beginnings and what we’re supposed to be doing.
Memorial Day recognizes the sacrifices —Â especially the ultimate sacrifice —Â made by our service men and women. What should Memorial Day mean to the people you will be speaking to?
It’s a day of memory andÂ mourning. We should be visiting the graves of not only the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, but also all those who served during the war periods.
You were involved last year in helping to get the new plaque that lists all the Sag Harbor veterans from World War II for the memorial at Marine Park. How important was that for you to accomplish?
It was most important that all these people be recognized because of their desire to serve their country. It took us about a year-and-a-half to get all 446 names for the plaque.
Every year there are fewer World War II veterans with us.
That’s for sure.
What’s the best way to keep the memory of their contributions alive?
Pray for them, visit their graves.
How have you seen the nature of conflicts change since the time you served?
I think they’ve changed more technically than anything else. World War II was the infancy of radar and LORAN. Today we’ve got guided missiles, and unmanned, drone aircraft.
The ceremony on Memorial Day is sponsored by the Sag Harbor Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. How can our military service organizations best serve their membership?
We do serve our members if they become ill, or needy. And, speaking for the Legion, we do a great deal with donations and scholarships. We sponsor six scholarships at Pierson every year at graduation, totaling 14,500. Of course we donate to the food pantry and other organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and the Cub Scouts. This year we’ll be sponsoring two boys to Boy’s State.
What does Memorial Day mean to you?
It means a day of remembering the guys and girls of Sag Harbor who served in WW II.