To the Editor,
I am writing this six months after the death of my uncle, Samuel Yannazzone, of Sparkill, NY. Uncle Sammy took care of the Sparkill Depot Square memorial and park, and raising and lowering of the flag at sun-up and sun-down for 60 years. He diligently cared for this park until he could not do it anymore. He took a special interest in the community where he was born and raised on the Sparkill Creek and later on Main Street.
Sam was a combat infantryman and was awarded that badge, as well as a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was County Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, American Legion Honorary Commander, Veteran of Foreign Wars member, and was a 78-year member as a volunteer firefighter/fire police in the Sparkill-Palisades Fire Department. He donated to every police and military organization. I remember when he donated to Ronald Reagan’s campaign $25 a week for years. He was given the Republican Party’s merit badge for all he did for Reagan and Bob Dole.
Sammy was a hard worker and he quietly and diligently went about his business. Anything that needed to be done, he did, as was noted in the July 3, 2001 article on him in the R.C. Times, “Honoring a Patriot.” I am writing this to spur enthusiasm in renaming Depot Square Park, “Sam Yannazzone Park.” Also, revitalization is needed in new trees, curbing, cleaning and painting of monuments, repairing, lining and dedicating this as a historic site as well as its current status as a memorial and Park & Ride.
I could write about Uncle Sammy for days but I would just refer you to Mr. Joe D’Auria Sr., a Sparkill legend, and he would tell you, “Sammy is a part of history.” He is dearly missed by family and friends. The naming would keep his stellar spirit alive forever – his smiling face and cheerful heart, along with a good word that embraced his faith in God and his fellow man.
Roger E. Kempton