A push to help veterans in Valley Stream
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Kielawa, who was in the U.S. Army during Vietnam, has been a member of the American Legion for 34 years and serves as the adjutant. He said that Monday’s ceremony and information fair will be the first of many initiatives for Valley Stream veterans.
One of the biggest challenges, Kielawa said, is identifying people in the community who are veterans, so he hopes that opening the Community Center’s doors to them will help.
Fox, who is retired from the village’s Sanitation Department, fought in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Army and belongs to both the American Legion and VFW Post 1790. He said he hopes veterans take advantage of Monday’s program. “It’s to their benefit to come out and see if they’re entitled to anything,” he said.
For example, Fox said, many people might not know that there is a Veterans Administration facility right in Valley Stream. Restivo, also a Vietnam vet from the U.S. Army, noted how lucky local veterans are to have a full-service medical center for them right in their own community.
Restivo, who was asked to join the committee by Mayor Ed Fare, said he is pleased that the village is taking notice of veterans and the sacrifices they have made.
Veterans Day is always marked on Nov. 11. It was originally known as Armistace Day, first celebrated in 1919, on the first anniversary of the end of World War I, and it was made a legal holiday in 1939. Fifteen years later, it became Veterans Day to remember those who served in all wars.
Kielawa noted that the meanings of Veterans Day and Memorial Day often get confused — Memorial Day is to remember those who have died in combat, while Veterans Day is to honor all those who have served. He said he always gets a “thank you” call from his brother on Veterans Day.
Hunter said when he was younger, his idea of honoring Veterans Day was to put his flag out. But as he has gotten more involved in the American Legion and gotten to know many area veterans, he has gained a deeper appreciation for the holiday. “If you see a vet, acknowledge it,” he said.