Retired Navy Cpt. Mark Leary was thinking about two close friends at the Memorial Day Remembrance Service at Rockefeller Gardens on May 25.
They had paid the ultimate sacrifice in Operation Desert Storm. He had known them since flight school, and their families had become friends. He was on a ship when he learned that their helicopter had crashed into the sea.
“I think about them every Memorial Day,” he said.
Leary was the guest speaker at the event. He told the crowd that the question he is most often asked is if there are enough good men and women in today’s all-volunteer army to face the nation’s challenges.
“Let me put your mind at rest,” he said. “They are more educated, just as committed, and just as good as any men and women who ever served.”
He said they uphold the legacy and serve with honor and courage.
Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have died while serving in the military, and it was marked with a presentation of colors, a fly-by, music, marching units and more.
Special guests for the Laying of the Wreath were World War II veterans Robert Doran and John Boswell, both former Marines. Edward Robertson, also a Marine, could not be at the ceremony because of a health issue.
Boswell served on carriers in the Pacific and was aboard the USS Missouri where he witnessed Japan’s official surrender. Doran saw the flag being raised on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima and left the service after 16 years as a captain. Robertson served for 30 years, including 30 continuous months as allied forces captured islands in the Pacific Ocean.
— Wayne Grant