By Connor Linskey
Montgomery residents, officials and veterans gathered Monday at Powell’s Landing Pavilion in the Village of Montgomery to commemorate those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The event was hosted by Osborn-Fitzsimmons American Legion Post 521 Montgomery and Dusenberry Flannery VFW Post 2064 Maybrook. Both groups began the ceremony by marching in a color guard. Post 521 Chaplain Bob Santo underscored the significance of the remembrance day in his opening prayer.
“Dear God, not everything that happens in your world reflects your goodness and grace,” he said. “You have given us freedom to choose. And with that freedom sometimes we choose to do evil. Today we remember a time of great evil in our world, we remember World War II. We also remember those who stood their ground against great evil.”
Those who perished were honored with a symbolic wreath toss into the Wallkill River. Members of VFW Post 2064 Maybrook fired a 21-gun salute. Tony Marano, a 96-year-old World War II veteran from Maybrook, impressed everyone with his playing of “Taps.”
American Legion Post 521 Montgomery Commander Mark Merring noted that he had visited targets of the attacks, including the USS Arizona Memorial and Hickam Air Force Base. While visiting the air force base, he saw multiple bullet holes on the side of the steel hangar. This provided a visual for what the sailors endured that day while defending the U.S.
“After considering all I spoke of and saw, I really don’t care about today’s weather for the ceremony remembering Pearl Harbor Day,” Merring said on Monday’s chilly morning. “Nor will I ever in the future. I will attend as long as I’m physically able to. The focus is now burned into my very soul.”