As the annual Day of Veterans Recognition Ceremony at City Hall came to a close Saturday afternoon, conversations on war and peace began as the ceremony's spectators and local elected officials approached the ceremony's honorees.
One veteran told state assemblyman Charles Lavine that while the war had been rough, he had known the purpose: to liberate Europe. Lavine recalled something his father-in-law had told him - that in the moments following the Dec. 7, 1941 attacks on Pearl Harbor, he knew "the world was about to change."
Most of the ceremony's honorees served in World War II.
"It was most important to liberate the concentration camps," said Nicholas Distasio, 87, of Glen Cove, who fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Distasio was assigned to the Army's 71st Infantry Division, 5th Infantry Regiment.
Distasio recalled the freeing of more than 15 concentration camps, though the Germans set many on fire as the Americans approached. The 71st Infantry was the subject of a graphic book titled "The 71st Came to Gunskirchen Lager," published to reveal to the world the Nazis' atrocities.
Also present was this year's Memorial Day honoree, Angelo J. Capobianco.
Capobianco was drafted into the Air Force at 18. He received several medals during the war as part of the 43rd Air Repair Squadron, attached to the 8th Air Force. Discharged honorably in March 1946, Capobianco has remained an active volunteer in Glen Cove as part of the Senior Center and VFW.
The Memorial Day Parade will begin at noon Monday, stepping off from Cottage Row and Forest Avenue, and will proceed down School Street to Glen Street, ending at the Glen Cove Library.