12/22/2009 3:26:51 PM



(Somers, NY) ~ Westchester County Legislator Vito Pinto (D-Tuckahoe) joined many Westchester Vietnam veterans on Sunday, as they gathered at The Vietnam Memorial on the Veterans Memorial Trail at Lasdon Park in Somers to pay tribute to those from Westchester County who did not return. This annual event is held the Sunday before Christmas to remember their sacrifice and to also give thanks, in a simple but dignified manner. The tribute is organized and led by Al Zawisky, President of the Vietnam Veterans of Westchester.


“For all of us, this is a moment of special pride and remembering,” said Legislator Pinto.  “We come here to remember and to memorialize all that was Vietnam and all that is our country. In doing so, we do not just list the names and remember those who gave their lives.  We remember and celebrate who they were and what they stood for. I recently received news that the remains of Captain Russell Goodman USAF, an exchange pilot in my squadron VF96 aboard the USS Enterprise, were recovered and are in the process of being returned to Nellis AFB for proper burial by his family.”


“There are hundreds of thousands of men and women who have and are currently serving our country overseas, and here at home, so that we can enjoy the privilege of pursuing life, liberty and happiness,” said Dan Griffin, Executive Director of the veterans group. “They have courageously combated tyranny and oppression to bring freedom to others.  Our nation owes them a tremendous debt of gratitude.  This vigil serves as our way of paying homage to their legacy and never forgetting their sacrifice to their country.”


The vigil is a wonderful experience for Vietnam veterans and all servicemen and women alike. Candles are placed along the memorial trail leading to the Vietnam Memorial and Vietnam Nurses Memorial, located at the top of the hill overlooking the valley.  Attendees read the names of all fallen service members, read a poem and render salutations. “Their sacrifice for our country will not be forgotten, as they are what makes this country great and makes me proud to be an American.”