2012-04-12 / Around the County

Vietnam Vets Honored By VFW

News from mahopac
Eric Gross


A candlelight ceremony performed by members of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary highlights the moving program. 
MaurEEn Daly A candlelight ceremony performed by members of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary highlights the moving program. MaurEEn Daly Veterans from throughout Putnam County recognized American heroes of the Vietnam War during a special Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony in Mahopac.

Mahopac VFW Post 5491 hosted last week’s event attended by more than 100 veterans and their families following federal and state proclamations issued by President Obama and Governor Cuomo “welcoming home” Vietnam veterans.

Theresa Capizola, a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, conceived the local event: “I am the proud daughter of a Vietnam hero who returned home to a cold and ungrateful nation.”

Vietnam veteran Terry Queally said as a group “Vietnam vets are committed to ensuring that never again will veterans go unrecognized for their sacrifices. We must also remember the soldiers, sailors and Marines who remain POWs or MIAs.”

Nearly four decades later, 2,000 members of the military are unaccounted for.

Denise McHugh, New York State VFW Ladies Auxiliary Community Service Coordinator, called on all Americans to “remember and reflect on these men and women who never returned to the land of the free.”

One of the most moving moments of the ceremony came when Vietnam veteran and former Mahopac VFW Post Commander Richard DiRusso recalled his return from battle 40 years ago: “When I came home, I visited my local VFW in the Bronx and was informed that I was not qualified for membership because the ‘conflict’ was not recognized as a war. In the eyes of the VFW post my overseas service did not meet their membership requirements. A decade later the attitude changed and I was invited to join.”

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