American Legion Post 803 in Southold started a new tradition Thursday while honoring all of America’s veterans during a special ceremony for Veterans Day.
“Today we will plant a 9/11 memorial swamp white oak sapling that was derived directly from the trees located at the 9/11 memorial in New York City,” Post commander Charles Sanders said “…Going forward, we will honor other veterans each Veterans Day and add bricks in their name around the growing tree to form a permanent memorial.”
The sapling was planted by Lucino Ramos, owner of Natural Images Landscaping. That specific species of tree was chosen for the memorial for various reasons, according to Mr. Sanders. It is native to all three spots that were impacted by the terror attacks on 9/11: New York City, Arlington County, Va., and Shanksville, Penn.
The first two veterans honored at the new memorial by the planting of the sapling were Lawrence Kranes and Arnold Ring, both from Brooklyn. Mr. Kranes, a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was laid to rest with military honors in 2014. Mr. Ring served in the Army Reserves as a Second Lieutenant assigned to the Military police. They were chosen for the honor because they were relatives of those who cared for and donated the sapling to the American Legion.
The legion’s Chaplain, Jeff Chagnon, led the Color Guard at the ceremony, which started promptly at 11 a.m. He was followed by a line of NJROTC members from local high schools. Cub and Boy Scouts were also in attendance.
Some special guests included a World War II veteran, a Korean War Veteran and Vietnam War veterans. Robert Scott, a Marine who served during Vietnam, was one of the veterans who spoke at the ceremony.
“Let us honor those veterans who carry into ordinary affairs of life a noble idealism and sincere capacity for self devotion,” he said. “Let us translate the devotion of war into a devotion of peace. Let us will to live as well as die for our country.”
There were also various local officials in attendance for the ceremony, including Town Supervisor Scott Russell, Town Deputy Supervisor Jill Doherty, and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).
“It’s a day to honor, to thank all of our service members, but its also a day for each of us to remember that it’s not the United States Constitution that grants us our liberties or our freedoms, it’s the service members that are willing to go, to fight, defend it and to protect it, that guarantee those rights,” Mr. Russell said.