A turbulent, frigid wind blew down Monday on the Veterans Memorial in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, where veterans gathered to mark the 125th anniversary of the Jewish War Veterans, but the men stood tall.
The ceremony was organized by Merrick JWV Post 652 Commander Gary Glick, of Bellmore, to recognize the milestone for the national organization, which is among the longest running veterans service organizations in the country.
In front of the veterans who gathered was an empty chair, signifying those who were lost in combat.
“This chair is our way of symbolizing the fact that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst,” said Eric Spinner, a JWV member who helped organize and led the event. “They are commonly referred to as POWs or MIAs. We call them brothers. They are unable to be with us this day, so we remember them.”
Glick has made it his personal mission to connect with veterans, many of whom are isolated throughout the county, and make them aware of benefits and services for which they are eligible. He recently worked to schedule veterans’ Covid-19 vaccine appointments.
Last week, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a partnership with Nassau University Medical Center and the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency to distribute vaccines to the county’s more than 45,000 veterans.
The VSA will coordinate registration for eligible veterans, and appointments will take place at NUMC in East Meadow. For more information and to make an appointment, call the Nassau VSA at (516) 572-6565.
“We want to make sure that those who protected us are protected,” Curran said.
“It really amazes me. You all served and did your duty for the United States of America,” said Ralph Esposito, director of the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency. “I am proud — and I mean proud — be the director of the VSA each and every day. I want to thank you all for the service you made.”
“One of the things I’ve come to appreciate is how much organizations like the Jewish War Veterans continue to serve the people of the United States, particularly here in Nassau County,” Legislator Steve Rhoads, of Bellmore, said. “What you do today is just as important as what you did in the fields of battle in service to our country.”
“By serving your country as veterans, you couldn’t have demonstrated a more patriotic way of showing your love for this country that you call your home,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, of Glen Cove, who gave the JWV Post 652 a commemorative plaque. “You make it stronger and better because of the sacrifices you have made.”
“All war veterans have become my brothers and sisters,” Glick said.
For assistance with veterans’ benefits and services, the Jewish War Veterans Post 652 can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website run by Spinner, www.we-are-vets.us.