On Memorial Day morning, spectators lined Purchase Street, confident that it wouldn’t rain too hard on the annual parade on its way to City Hall, where the official and solemn ceremony was held.
All ages waved flags and cheered as veterans, emergency vehicles, newly awarded Eagle Scouts, members of Rye’s treasured community organizations, and City officials passed by.
At the ceremony, Rye American Legion Post 128 Commander Fred deBarros introduced Mayor Joe Sack, who walked to the podium carrying a mock-up of the front page from The Rye Chronicle published on Memorial Day 1946. The paper reported that the 1,400 Rye residents who served and the 46 who gave their lives “served with distinction to themselves and their city.”
Martin Dockery, a Rye resident, delivered the principal address. He described banging on Pentagon doors to be assigned to duty in Vietnam, only to find himself in 1962 as a 21-year-old Army lieutenant advising a 45-year-old ARVN captain. Soon after, Dockery was leading a charge — alone — across a deep canal, separated from his troops and isolated with the enemy. The eight months he spent in the heart of the Mekong Delta became the basis of his 2003 book, “Lost in Translation: Vienam, a Combat Advisor’s Story.”
Among the honorees that morning were: Post 128 Vice Commander Tom Saunders, who received the 2017 Americanism Award; and Troop 2 Eagle Scouts Aiden Donnelly, Michael Quartararo, Christopher Tobin, and Gabriel Zangiacomi.
The winner of the John M. Kingery Memorial Essay was Katie Sack; the runners-up were Charlie Nagle and Emery Bickner-Wolfson.
The ceremony concluded with a Benediction by Rabbi Dr. Robert Rothman and the playing of “Taps” by Rye High School student Ken Nakamura.
Photos by Robin Jovanovich and Tom McDermott