Local military members honored at annual Memorial Day breakfast

State Senator Marty Golden honored local veterans and active members of the military at the annual Memorial Day breakfast held at the Bay Ridge Manor on Thursday, May 16.

“As we sit and dine, remember those who are out there fighting for us,” Golden said to nearly 100 past and present members of the military and local leaders in uniform. “I am proud to host these men and women who put their lives on the line so we remain a symbol of freedom throughout the world.”

Golden noted that there are plenty of festivities in Bay Ridge to celebrate those in service. They include the 146th annual Memorial Day Parade, the oldest in the country, and although Fleet Week festivities will be cut short this year, Army Week will still go on from June 9 to 14.

“Colonel Gines will make sure that Army Week goes on as it should,” Golden said, referring to Colonel Eluyn Gines, the garrison commander of the Fort Hamilton Army Base, who was present at the breakfast.

The state senator also thanked members of the service for all their efforts during Sandy.

“Military efforts are crucial in these communities and seven months later, those communities are still suffering,” he said. “We are still trying to put families back together. Operations run out of the Fort Hamilton Army Base were equal to none.”

Two “local military leaders who have shown every day what one can do when they love their country” were honored at the breakfast: Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bordonaro and World War II veteran Howard Dunn.

Bordonaro is a Marine stationed at Fort Hamilton for the past two years who helped during Sandy and has participated in every Tunnel to Towers run. This year will be the first Memorial Day parade in 15 years that his battalion will march in.

“I am very honored to be able to do that this year,” he said, adding that he will try not to let the truncated Fleet Week dampen his spirits. “I try to have the glass half full instead of half empty mentality.”

Bordonaro also shared his thoughts about Memorial Day itself. “In recent years, it has become a commercial holiday. It lost its original meaning,” he said. “What we lost is the reflection of what the holiday is about: taking time to remember those men and women who gave the full measure for our freedom. I ask you to take a moment to remember the families and the sacrifices they continue to make each year.”

Dunn – who was recently hospitalized – graciously accepted his award from Golden, “on behalf of the Boy Scouts and the veterans.” He served in the Navy during World War II from March 1944 to April 1946. He has also been an active member of the Boy Scouts for the past 74 years.

In his spare time, Dunn frequently visits Wounded Warriors and he encouraged attendants to do so, too.

“Support the Wounded Warriors as much as you can. We go a long way to encourage them,” he said. “You are doing a wonderful job. Help is what we need to give them.”

Dunn also thanked his fellow service members. “Without you, we would have never been able to survive all the wars we had,” he said. “We are the people who fight for the rights of America and help other countries.”

“May we never forget the sacrifice of those who answered the call to duty,” Golden concluded.

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