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  • Saturday, May 28, 2016

    Memorial Day Brings Both a Smile and a Tear

    James Yermas

    James Yermas

    We have a lot to reflect on this Memorial Day.

    Veterans who are no longer with us. Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans who had an impact on us.

    For those who personally touched us, Memorial Day allows us to savor their memory. To smile. And then, inside, to render a tearful salute.

    Al Paviglianti is an example of a veteran who brings both a smile and a tear. This World War II Marine, who went to his eternal rest last year at the age of 92, fought in bloody battles on Iwo Jima. He even escorted the Marines who raised the first flag atop Mount Suribachi – a flag raising that drew cheers from the Americans below. They didn’t just raise a flag; they raised the spirit of the American fighting force.

    After the war Al joined the American Legion. He believed in youth and the promise he saw in them for America’s future. Al became an icon at American Legion Boys State – bonding with thousands upon thousands of high school youth. Like the flag-raising on Iwo Jima, Al’s life raised the spirit of America’s future.

    Please join me, and all the American Legion Posts across the Empire State, as we honor the memories of all the military veterans who sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms.

    — James V. Yermas, commander, American Legion Department of New York.