In observance of Veterans Day, Councilmember Vincent Gentile hosted a wreath laying ceremony in front of Fort Hamilton High School’s “Honoring Our Veterans” mural on Wednesday, November 9.
It took place in the school’s athletic field, which also doubles as a public park, located at Colonial Road from 83rd Street to 85th Street at 1:30 p.m.
The ceremony honored veterans of the past, present and future, including the Kings County Memorial Day Parade Committee and David Tirado. Tirado is a Brooklynite and former Bay Ridge resident who rescued a man from the subway tracks at the City Hall R train station back in June.
“[He] used his natural instincts from his training in the US Army 101st Airborne Division to jump into the subway tracks,” Gentile said.
Tirado, who received a proclamation from the City Council a few weeks ago for his heroic deed, also shared a few words at the ceremony.
In addition, the Fort Hamilton High School Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps conducted the Color Guard, Honor Guard, and the Pledge of Allegiance. Also, the school’s choir performed the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
“While it may be cliché, veterans have literally shed blood, sweat and tears so that we can have this simple ceremony at this moment,” Gentile said.
The ceremony reflected upon the patriotic imagery of the mural, which depicts all branches of the armed services, including women veterans, and veterans from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.
Gentile funded the mural, which was completed in 2013, through the City Council. He chose Fort Hamilton High School because it’s named after the local United States Army base.
“The mural is a reminder,” Gentile said. “A reminder of the true sacrifice our veterans have made, a reminder that isn’t time sensitive and a reminder not only on Veterans Day, but every day.
“A reminder of the commitment our veterans have made to protect our rights,” he continued. “One of which was the freedom to vote yesterday, which however you checked your box, is still a right that isn’t a given around the world.”
“And I am extremely proud that it [the mural] will remain here, it will remain here long after we’re gone,” the councilmember added.
In addition, Gentile said Americans can overcome the division they feel in the country and said everyone is in it together.
“And yet, these words ring hollow without our vets,” he said. “And that is why we honor them today, tomorrow, and eternally.”