Honoring our heroes and heritage at the Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor

BY KATHY KAHN

And one is in the body of e-mail of Ben Gilman and Andy Komonchak at picnic held at Castle Point VA by Rolling Thunder. They made Gilman honorary member.
Ben Gilman and Andy Komonchak at picnic held at Castle Point VA by Rolling Thunder. They made Gilman honorary member.

The Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor is sited in the very place General George Washington commanded troops during the American Revolution and awarded the Badge of Merit to wounded soldiers, which later became known as the Purple Heart.

The museum recently re-opened after a $2.1 million renovation, offering a wing for every branch of the military, as well as a separate wing dedicated the American Revolution that depicts the role mid-Hudson played in the nation’s fight for freedom from Britain.

Andrew Komonchak, executive director of the Hall of Honor, is a Rockland native himself. Several of his former neighbors were under the packed tent to celebrate the re-dedication of the museum on Saturday, August 15.

Veteran Jim Peloso, former Town of Clarkstown youth officer, and wife Rose at Purple Heart Hall of Honor rededication
Veteran Jim Peloso, former Town of Clarkstown youth officer, and wife Rose at Purple Heart Hall of Honor rededication

Caring citizens and organizations have created more ways to honor our combat vets. Jerry Donnellan, director of the Rockland County Veteran’s office, was pleased to note Honor Flights to Washington, DC for World War 2 veterans has now opened up to Korean Conflict veterans as well.

 “There are two flights this fall: one will be leaving from Stewart International Airport on October 10, the other out of Westchester County Airport on November 7.”  The Honor Flight is open to all veterans, who are accompanied by either a family member or an assigned companion-wives get the day off– for the flight to visit the monuments, Arlington National Cemetery—and more importantly, to gather together once more with their “band of brothers.”

“The great thing about the return flight is the ‘mail call,’” said Donnelan. “That was one thing guys in combat waited for. It’s nice for them to get a letter from a family member or friend of just someone who wants to thank them for their service. It’s a wonderful day in the nation’s capitol for these people who put their lives on the line, some of them now in their 90’s.”

For those who would like to visit the Purple Heart Hall of Honor, the number is 845-56-0159 or visit www.thepurpleheartinc.com. To learn more about Honor Flights for WW2 and Korean veterans (who fly for free), the number is 845-391-0076.

For Rockland veterans who are in need of assistance, contact Jerry Donnelan, director of Rockland Veterans Association, at 845-638-5244 or visit www.rockvets.com.