SOMERS, N.Y. -- At an overcast gathering on Veterans Day, Albert Zawiski noted the personal connections that fallen service members in Vietnam had to Westchester.
“We went to school with a lot of these gentlemen," he said. "We hung out in the same neighborhoods. We played sports together all over Westchester County. We really miss these guys.”
The gathering, which was held by a chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, took place at the Vietnam War memorial in Lasdon Park. The memorial, which includes an obelisk that lists the names of the fallen, is located at a clearing on a hill.
At the service, participants read the names of Westchester natives killed or missing in action. The names included both soldiers and nurses who were deployed.
Zawiski, a White Plains resident who serves as the chapter's vice president and chaplain, told Daily Voice that its members are Vietnam veterans who currently live in Westchester or used to reside in the county.
The Veterans Day reading is one of several that the chapter holds at Lasdon Park, according to Barney Puleo, who is the chapter's president. A similar event is also held on Memorial Day; there, the chapter also holds reading of the names of local Korean War veterans.
Turnout has been rising, Puleo noted.
“It increases every year,” he said.
Puleo attributes the rise in turnout to more veterans retiring, and thus having more time on their hands.
The Vietnam veterans' reading was one of many services that were scheduled for across the region on Veterans Day.