With most of the dreary day being overcast and soggy, the sky turned sunny and bright just before the 1 p.m. start of the somber ceremonies. Chairman Ray Aalbue, a U.S. Air Force veteran, opened the proceedings with the presentation of the colors by the Fort Hamilton Army Junior ROTC Color Guard, followed by the national anthem sung by actress Josette D’Ambrosi, who is also a professional dancer and former USO performer.
Army veteran Connie Ranocchia, president of the United Military Veterans, led the guests and attendees with the Pledge of Allegiance. VA Chaplain Charles Hall gave the invocation and Chaplain Col. Edward Kane gave the benediction. Veteran service organizations placed the wreaths while bagpipers Tom Haggerty and Tom Alverson played “Amazing Grace.” A joint task force rifle squad fired a 21-gun salute and Lukus Kelk, a Fort Hamilton High School senior, played “Taps.”
Fort Hamilton U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Craig Martin was the reviewing officer and wheelchair- bound World War II Army veteran Dave Vogel served as the 2021 motorcade and memorial service grand marshal.
Among luminaries in attendance were State Senator Andrew Gounardes, City Councilman Justine Brannan, Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus, Kings County Conservative Party Chairman Fran Vella-Marone, City Council candidates Eric Frankel and Brian Fox, Assemblywoman and borough president candidate Jo Anne Simon and mayoral candidate Kathyrn Garcia.