State Sen. Marty Golden hosted his 16th Annual Veterans Day Breakfast at the Bay Ridge Manor on Thursday, Nov. 8th. Veterans from all branches of the service filled the venue, including officers and servicemen and women from Fort Hamilton Army Base.
John Seravalli, special assistant to Marty Golden, served as emcee. He welcomed guests and thanked the members of the military for attending, including Commanding Officer of Fort Hamilton Army Base Col. Andrew Zieseniss, Fort Hamilton Command Sgt. LeShan Hayes and Fort Hamilton Chaplain Major Bruce Duty. He also recognized more than 25 veteran groups such as Catholic War Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, Kings County Memorial Day Parade Committee, Rolling Thunder Chapter 1, Korean War Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America.
Entertainment was provided by the Downtown Dames, formerly known as the U.S.O. Girls, who gave a spirted retro performance of World War II favorites like the Andrews Sisters’ “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” before concluding with “God Bless the U.S.A.” and a medley of songs from each branch of the armed services.
Zieseniss spoke about his family’s military history. He said that he grew up listening to his grandfather’s stories of serving during World War II and his father’s stories about Vietnam. “Men like my grandfather and father and those that I grew up with were an inspiration to me,” Zieseniss said. “And that’s why I stand here today in uniform serving our country.”
Golden entered the room to a standing ovation. “Today’s a great day to be here with our veterans and supporting those who served our great nation,” Golden said. “Thank you for what you have accomplished and what you have done for the citizens of America and for the citizens of the world because you have made a difference. It’s through your sacrifice and through your courage that our veterans and the American military has been able to fight against Nazism, Communism and Terrorism. It’s because of your service that we are able to remain the greatest democracy ever created on the face of the earth.”
Golden introduced guest of honor, Korean War veteran Vincent C. Sampieri. Sampieri explained that he first enlisted in the Navy reserve on Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge when he was 17-years-old.
“It’s an honor to be here today with all our veterans,” Sampieri told this paper. “Marty Golden has always stood behind the veterans for all these years and we are very grateful to him, especially since he is a veteran himself. And the award given to me today is shared with all the other veterans because we are a team. We work together. It’s not just for one person. It’s for everybody and their families.”
The breakfast concluded with a moment of silence for all the veterans who have passed on followed by “Taps,” performed by Vietnam veteran Barry Berger from Disabled American Veterans Chapter 154.