Dozens of veterans came together Friday morning to pay tribute to the lives lost at Pearl Harbor. Though they hailed from American Legions across the Town of Oyster Bay, all were united in the brotherhood of the armed forces as they remembered their fallen comrades.
The Plainview-Old Bethpage band set the beat for the march along the coastline to the edge of the bay, where veterans and their loved ones gathered around the American flag at half mast.
As though they had just left boot camp, all stood at attention until ordered at ease by American Legion Commander and long time master of ceremonies Reginald Butt.
Before recounting the harrowing story of the infamous day, U.S. Navy Captain Stephen T. Treacy's voice echoed across the harbor with an old World War II tune:
We will always remember how they died for liberty
Let's remember Pearl Harbor and go on to victory
"On December 6, 1941, there was in place a generation of young people…whose parents were concerned about the new music they were listening to and all the crazy ideas they had," said Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor and veteran John Venditto.
"Many of them lost their lives in the years ahead. Many of them survived physically but did so with broken spirits," he continued. "They went on to become the greatest generation."
Just one of the many veterans present at the ceremony had been actively serving during World War II. The salute to him and the many not present culminated in the traditional tossing of memorial wreaths into Oyster Bay harbor. Gently tossing red, white, and blue wreaths with bronze colored plaques or pink and white carnations into the bay, comrades raised a hand in a lingering salute before heading back to their posts, saluting the flag during the playing of TAPS. Sniffles broke the quiet as a Plainview-Old Bethpage trumpeter played flawlessly, but no veteran broke their salute until well after the last note rang out across the bay.
As the veterans made their way back to head home, each gave a final nod to the American flag at half mast or another glance at the flower they had tossed, all remembering to never forget their fallen brothers.