Community Gathers to Honor Rye’s War Dead on Memorial Day

Mayor Josh Cohn announced plans for a new plaque honoring those lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Photos Jaime Glez
Published June 7, 2024 2:24 PM
3 min read

0:00

By Elliot Walker

Rainy weather may have stopped Rye’s 2024 Memorial Day Parade, but the ceremony honoring the city’s war dead marched on as planned in the packed chambers at City Hall.

The audience included young and old alike, with some of the city’s high school students joining city, county, and state officials in the ceremony. Rye High School student Henry Paul recited the Gettysburg Address, while fellow high school student Michael Talbot played Taps. Madeline Kilroy, winner of the John M. Kingery Memorial Essay Contest, read her winning entry, a reflection on the impact military service and sacrifice had on her family’s history.

Mayor Josh Cohn announced plans for a new plaque honoring those lost in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as adding missed names of fallen soldiers to existing plaques. Westchester County Executive George Latimer spoke of John H. Griffith, a man from Latimer’s same Mount Vernon neighborhood, who was 19 years old when he was killed in Vietnam in 1966. Latimer said he thought often of the everyday milestones of life that Griffith missed and how each marked “another day of his sacrifice.” Latimer, who is challenging Rep. Jamaal Bowman for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 16th Congressional District, received the Award for Americanism for his service to veterans and the Rye community.

Latimer was not the only one honored, as Troop 2 Boy Scouts Ferdinand Coughlin, Matthew Pellegrini and Logan Jancski from Troop 2 were cited for their achieving Eagle Scout rank.

State Sen. Shelley Mayer and state Assemblyman Steven Otis thanked the city’s veterans for their service and their sacrifices. Mayer said at a time of increasing political division, it was especially important to come together on Memorial Day. Otis talked of how our nation needed to work to exemplify the values of freedom and democracy fought for by its
veterans.

Patrick Murphy, a Rye resident and U.S. Navy veteran who served in Iraq, delivered the principal address, and urged the audience to remember not only the sacrifice of the fallen, but the ideals they fought for. Murphy said “the true measure of a nation’s greatness lies not in its military might, but in its willingness to honor the sacrifices of those who have given everything for the cause of freedom.”

Legionnaire Terry McCartney read the Roll of Honor, a list of the names of Rye’s fallen, including the streets where they lived and details about their lives. The event closed with Robin Latimer’s singing of “America the Beautiful,” which the audience in the chamber and the overflow area joined in singing.

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