The “Greatest Generation” is rapidly leaving the stage. Therefore, it was special having two living links to that bygone era at the Carle Place Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11. Nick Pasquarella of Valley Stream, 95, and Marvin Levine of Carle Place, 92, are two of the seven members of the Carle Place American Legion Post 1718 who served in WWII.
Post Commander Al Piscitelli introduced the two men, who received a warm applause from the large gathering at Veterans Memorial Park. He also joked that Pasquarella had beaten him in their bowling league competition, scoring a 204. And that’s with no handicap.
Pasquarella, a 39-year member, said he served in the Pacific War as a heavy equipment operator with the Army. He did the “island hopping” from New Guinea to Okinawa.
“That was enough world traveling for one lifetime,” he was told.
“You have no idea,” replied Pasquarella, who retired as a heavy equipment operator, having started in that line of work before the war. “People talk about D-Day, but I saw three D-Days, two in the Philippines and one in Okinawa.”
“Tough” was how he described his experiences.
When asked, “What did you take away from your time in the service?” he replied, “I wish I wasn’t there.”
Levine agreed with his colleague, adding, “I was in a safe place,” being stationed in Texas during the war.
Levine, a 35-year post member, said he is a retired machine designer.
Piscitelli, who served in the Army from 1954-56 and has led the post for 19 years, read the names of the other WWII veterans who could not make the ceremony: William Braithwaite (66-year member), Michael Dangelo (17), Louis Cianca (63), Salvatore Russo (52) and John Shedel (50).
He noted that the post was founded in 1948 and at one point had about 500 members. Today it had less than 60, but it was still active.
Chaplain Helmut Walter made note of those who sacrificed “for a better nation and the generations yet unborn.” He also prayed for a “world where nations may resolve their differences by peaceful means.”
Walter also asked for “God to instill in the commander-in-chief and the Congress the will to secure our captured and missing Americans in Southeast Asia and the world.”
Michael Giambone, Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, read poems written by schoolchildren to honor veterans and made note that this was the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War as well as the 245th anniversary of the formation of the Marine Corps.
“On this day we stand united in respect,” he said. “On this day we honor the willingness to serve. On this day we remember the sacrifice. On this day we thank all veterans.”
Piscitelli also noted that 2020 marked 75 years since the end of WWII.
Guest speaker and Town of North Hempstead Clerk Wayne Wink said Veterans Day also commemorates “those who sacrificed their time, their youth, their energy and in many cases their health and even their lives, for the betterment of our great society.”
After alluding to the political divide, Wink observed, “I hope that today, like every day, Americans on all side, throughout the political spectrum, join together to realize that the things that bring us together are more important than things that separate us. And all those who sacrificed—their sacrifice is the reason why we can disagree.”
In his closing remarks, Piscitelli recited “Veterans Day,” a poem by Cheryl Dyson:
On Veterans Day we honor all
Who answered to a service call
Soldiers young, and soldiers old
Fought for freedom, brave and bold
Some have lived, while others died
And all of them deserve our pride
We’re proud of all the soldiers who
Kept thinking of red, white and blue
They fought for us and all our rights
They fought through many days and nights
And though we may not know each name
We thank ALL veterans just the same
Piscitelli stated that there are many homeless veterans, women included.
“It’s kind of tough to see that, but I understand that Nassau County is working on getting housing for our homeless veterans,” he said.
If you spot a veteran, concluded Piscitelli, “thank them for their service.”