The red-letter words on the cover of a simple yet well-done four-page program read: “A Tribute to Our Veterans.”
Old Glory, which was done in red, white and blue and seemingly waving in the breeze also featured a famous Jeff Miller quote: “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.”
So, sometime around two o’clock Friday afternoon, the All-American Assisted Living Center on Toll Gate Farm Road was the scene of tributes and forms of respect during an impressive teary-eyed ceremony to honor the 10 resident veterans.
While All-American Executive Director Joann S. Cardullo, RN, ALA and super staffers like Kathyrn Holz, Amber Wolf and Elizabeth Lamantia — just to name a few – coordinated the moving tribute, the entire ceremony from the singing of the National Anthem to Taps was put on by Beacon Hospice, whose bereavement program provides a variety of free supportive services for families and individuals who are grieving.
From the time Hospice Bereavement Coordinator Christine Miller delivered one of many moving messages at the tribute’s outset until Beacon Volunteer Coordinator Paul Gauthier led the singing of “God Bless America”, there weren’t many dry eyes inside the All-American Media Room.
“Good afternoon … and thank you for joining us today as we recognize our veterans for their unwavering service to this country,” Miller began. “When Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” almost 200 years ago, he called America “the land of the free and home of the brave. Those words are as true today as they were then.
Throughout the Nation’s history, America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and members of the Coast Guard have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, to aid our friends and allies and to turn back aggressors.
Those words are inscribed on the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met.”
Thus, amid a number of red, white and blue items like letters U-S-A, an Uncle Sam’s Hat and even wreaths made of ribbon the ceremony included Gauthier, who plays the guitar, leading the standing room only tribute in the singing of the National Anthem.
Soon there after, Miller was back behind the microphone introducing each veteran and rank of service while Wolf and Lamantia performed the pinning ceremony for each of the All-Americans valuable veterans.
As applause filled the spacious room after each veteran’s pinning, Miller emphasized: “The freedoms we cherish endures because of their service and sacrifice.”
Those veterans are: Albert A. Anderson, Air Force, 45 Staff Sergeant; Edward Decamp, Navy, Airman; Phillip Eliades, Marine Corps, Corporal; Samuel Green, Army, Private; Russell Johnson, Navy 2nd Class Radar Technician and Rudolfo Mattiace, Army, Tactical Staff Sergeant.
Also, Louie Monsanto, Army, Sergeant; Richard Murphy, Army, Staff Sergeant; Joseph Powers, Marine Corps, Sergeant and Donald M. Slipp, Air Force, Staff Sergeant.
The ceremony concluded with Beacon Hospice Coordinator Jim Lefebvre delivering a reading of “The Missing Man Table” that he said “is a place of honor” and ended with the words “The burning candle and yellow ribbon symbolize everlasting hope of a reunion with the missing. We will never forget their sacrifice.”
Following a moment of silence, a number of All-American staffers served refreshments and along with the day’s guests and family members offered congratulations to the resident veterans thanked each one for their great service to the country.