The Michael J. Crescenz Medal of Honor Rising Sun VFW Post 2819, 6850 Martins Mill Road, hosted its annual Memorial Day event on Monday afternoon.
The post is named in memory of Crescenz, one of 27 Cardinal Dougherty High School graduates killed in the Vietnam War. His brother, Joe, helped raise the American flag on Monday.
The front lawn featured hundreds of American flags and crosses, with the names of Post 2819 members who’ve died printed on the crosses. There were six new crosses planted on Monday, including one for Post 2819’s oldest member and past commander Joe Weitort, who died in December.
“He will be greatly missed,” said current commander Frank DeFranco.
Other newly planted crosses were for Tony Maher, Bobby Dott, Kenneth Ziff, Brian Corbett and Thomas E. Jardel.
St. Cecilia eighth-grader Alyssa DiNezza, who will be attending Archbishop Wood next year, and Archbishop Ryan junior Giavanna Stanger read their winning essays for the Patriot Pen and Voice of Democracy contests, respectively. DeFranco presented them with a cash prize.
State Rep. Jared Solomon recalled comments from John F. Kennedy, in a speech at Amherst College less than a month before he was killed, who said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
Solomon said only two or three houses on his block displayed the American flag for the holiday. When he Googled “Memorial Day,” the top three things that appeared were a breakfast special at Perkins, information on the shore and hamburgers/hot dogs.
“We can do better than breakfast, hot dogs and the shore,” he said. “In fact, we must.”
The event also included a wreath laying, the Pledge of Allegiance, the playing of Taps, the singing of the national anthem and a tribute to the 13 U.S. service members killed last August in a bombing at an Afghanistan airport by “evil cowards.”
The 2nd Police District blocked the road to traffic so the large crowd could safely watch the ceremony. ••