This is an important week for Sag Harbor – one where we not only have honored all the men and women who have valiantly served in our country’s military, but a week where we are also poised to bid a final farewell to the first young son lost from this village to combat in quite some time.
On Saturday, rain or shine, residents of the village and beyond will gather together to pay tribute to Marine Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq last April at the tragically young age of 19. The Sag Harbor-North Haven Bridge will be renamed on Saturday in Jordan’s honor and a memorial for him unveiled at the foot of the bridge.
Jordan’s death and subsequent homecoming weighed heavily on the hearts of virtually everyone in Sag Harbor, if not on the whole of the East End or even the whole of Long Island. But the moments we have spent mourning Jordan in the months since his tragic homecoming have also been touched with a sense of importance and pride.
Standing at Marine Park this Tuesday, after the village’s Veteran’s Day parade, we were reminded why, in part, the loss of Jordan’s life has affected us so deeply – because like the many men and women from Sag Harbor, North Haven and Noyac before him, Jordan’s death was a sacrifice in the name of something greater than himself — the lives of his fellow soldiers. Whatever our personal reflections on war in general or this one in particular, Jordan’s selfless act in the name of loyalty and duty should never be forgotten.
At Marine Park on Veteran’s Day, George Boziwick reminded that few are left who lived in Sag Harbor, or were of age to serve, during World War II. World War II, for many of us, was too long ago to be a conflict that touched us just by its very enormity. It remains an abstract concept for many of us as we wave at the ever-decreasing number of aging veterans who parade down Main Street every November 11.
But consider this — 446 local men and women served in World War II — 18 of them never came back to Sag Harbor, like Jordan. For a community of this size, those numbers stagger us and provide further proof that it has been some time indeed since our community has dealt with this kind of loss, or conversely, has been given a moment to honor that kind of sacrifice.
To us, it is poignant that this week is book ended by tributes to those who served on behalf of us, our country – beginning with Veteran’s Day and the rededication of the World War II monument and ending by honoring Jordan with his own monument, a tribute to the first son of Sag Harbor that we have lost, and have had the opportunity to honor in most of our lifetimes. May the sacrifices of all our country’s veterans never be forgotten.Â