PATERSON, NJ- Barely a stone’s throw from where the Great Falls gave rise to Paterson another important part of the city’s history is marked in tribute to local residents who gave their lives as members of the United States military.
On Monday Paterson joined with communities all over the United States to mark Memorial Day in a special remembrance event hosted by the Paterson Veterans’s Council with Veterans Memorial Park as the backdrop.
While quick to turn the attention off himself and back onto the brave men and women that have died in American wars since our nation’s founding, the significance of having Anthony Vancheri, himself a veteran, present was made evident through the praise bestowed upon him by many in attendance, including Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh and current mayor Janey Williams-Warren.
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Vancheri served as a combat medic during the Vietnam War, and often speaks proudly of becoming an American citizen in 1969 while still a soldier. Having recently undergone quadruple bypass surgery just months ago the respected veteran and community leader spoke forcefully against anyone that disrespects our nation’s flag, and therefore denigrates the memory of those who have lost their lives in its defense.
Among the dignitaries gathered at the event, held in Paterson Fire Headquarters because the memorials in Hayden Heights are accessible currently only by climbing the steep hill on foot, rendering them unreachable by some of the disabled veterans, was Congressman Bill Pascrell.
“The people that have died gave their lives for everybody,” Pascrell said “when they died on the battlefield they weren’t separated by race or ethnicity,” remarks similar to those he gave at an earlier event to which he added “we are a great nation because we do not separate people. When we do we are less than we should be.”
Following the service, wreath laying and ceremony gun volley TAPinto Paterson spoke with Eduardo Bueno- Galdos whose brother Christian lost his life serving in Iraq in 2009, and is remembered in the park with a headstone.
Christian, having emigrated from Peru in 1993, was “always a leader,” Eduardo said. “He loved this country, he always wanted to defend it,” he said proudly surrounded by his extended family.
For Veteran's Day, Vancheri predicted during his comments, additional access wll be completed allowing for future ceremonies to be held in the shadow of the memorials.