The Fort Hamilton Senior Center hosted its annual event in honoring our veterans on Friday, November 11.
Veterans, seniors and Bay Ridge residents filled up the seats at 9941 Fort Hamilton Parkway for a day of reflection and gratefulness.
“All of [the audience members] turned out today to show support for veterans,” veteran Mike Nelson, who works at the senior center, said.
“The seniors are very patriotic and loyal,” added Center Manager Peter Lovett. “They’re fantastic people, blue blooded Americans. Honoring the veterans is something [the seniors] enjoy doing and I want to perpetuate that.”
Taking to the front of the room, the Adaptive Glee Club sang “God Bless America.” and a couple of veterans, including Nelson, Bob Bonsignore and Korean War veteran Sal Parise, took a moment to say a few words.
“The land of the free and the home of the brave – boy, how true that is,” Parise, who spent Christmas serving in Korea at the age of 18, said. “It was the first Christmas I was away from home.”
Parise recalled knocking frozen tears off his face and thanking God for letting him live in the “greatest country in the world.”
“I’m standing in a room full of heroes,” he said. “I want to salute every one of you guys.”
In addition, 17-year-old Kia Mahootian showed his short film, “Living History: Interviewing Veterans at my Local Senior Veteran Center,” at the event. Before Mahootian moved from Brooklyn to the Bronx, he would ride his bike to the senior center every weekend. It took him 15 months to complete the film, which features veterans’ testimonies.
“Veterans Day is a time to appreciate the people who preserved our democracy,” Mahootian said. “Our military does a very good job of keeping that spirit alive.”
“These heroes of ours – men and women – that serve our country, they protect our liberties and without them we wouldn’t have it,” Lovett said.