BY MICHAEL RICONDA
PIERMONT – Seventy-odd years after thousands of American soldiers boarded ships bound for WWII-ravaged Europe at Piermont, five were joined at the Piermont Pier by Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Veterans Service Agency Director Jerry Donnellan on April 22 to honor their service to the United States.
Prior to an “Honor Flight” to Washington D.C. this weekend to visit the capitol’s memorials to the armed forces, the County gave its own thanks to residents Edward, Charles and Richard Kwiecinski and Vincent and Michael Terribile. Edward, Richard and Vincent served in the Army while Charles served in the Navy and Michael was in the Marines.
In addition, two other Kwiecinski brothers, Joseph and John, served in World War II. John was killed in combat in France while Joseph passed away recently.
Wheelchair-bound Michael Terribile, who served in the 5th Marine Division’s 28th Regiment, grew emotional when describing his own experiences fighting in Europe, where he was wounded by shrapnel. He spoke fondly of his country and expressed strong pride in serving under an American flag.
“It’s the only flag in the world that’s worthwhile,” Terribile said. “It’s not perfect-nothing is perfect-but this is the best country and the best looking flag that I’ve ever seen.”
The five vets were presented with pins specially designed to look like the “Ruptured Duck” medals awarded during World War II with the Ruptured Duck design superimposed over a picture of Rockland County.
The Honor Flights, which began in 2005, take veterans to visit a host of sites which innclude Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns.