Colonel Peter Sicoli, commanding officer at Fort Hamilton Army Base, was among the honorees at this year’s pre-Memorial Day breakfast and awards ceremony hosted by State Senator Marty Golden.
The Bay Ridge Manor was packed on Thursday, May 25 with veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Members of American Legion posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars, along with the Catholic War Veterans, Disabled American Veterans and the Jewish War Veterans of America attended the breakfast.
Elected officials and community leaders were there to pay their respects to the veterans who’ve served our country through the years.
Sicoli received the Distinguished Service Resolution Award. He assumed command of the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hamilton on July 27, 2016. He had served in combat brigades throughout the U.S. and overseas including multiple combat deployments to Kuwait and Iraq.
This year’s inductee into the New York State Veterans’ Hall of Fame was veterans’ advocate Concepcion “Connie” Ranocchia. Ranocchia has dedicated her time to volunteering with numerous veterans’ organizations. She has been a member of the American Legion since 1998 and is currently on the Memorial Day Parade committee.
Brooklyn born Captain Samuel Orlan received the New York State Senate Liberty Medal, the Senate’s highest honor. Orlan served in Afghanistan, was wounded in action and retired as a captain in 2013. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Army Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
The Liberty Medal is awarded to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic or humanitarian acts on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.
Golden hosts breakfasts for Brooklyn military veterans twice a year – for Memorial Day and again for Veterans Day.
“Every year I am proud and humbled to host this wonderful event,” Golden said. “Our veterans deserve our gratitude and we can never fully repay them for what they have done for this grateful state and nation. We can however, pass legislation that honors our veterans, respect the American flag, protect their rights as Americans and support programs that may make their lives easier.”
Over 170 veterans were at the breakfast as United We Sing, a USO themed trio, performed for the veterans and their guests.
The Marine Corps presented the Colors and Memorial Day Parade Chairperson Ray Aalbue led the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Let us remember that it is because of our veterans, past and present and future, America will always be the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Golden added. “This Memorial Day let us pause to remember those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. God bless our veterans and God bless America.”