Veterans Day 2019 Speaker Announced

Rye American Legion Post 128 is honored to announce that Charlie Northshield will be the keynote speaker at the Rye Veterans Day 2019 ceremony which will take place on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 10:30 am at Rye City Hall.

If you recognize the name of Charlie Northshield, you should.  He taught in the Rye City School District for 33 years.

He served in the US Marine Corps for 22 months including one full year in the Republic of Vietnam.

Charlie spent his formative years in Melville, NY. He received his MA degree from NYU and his BA and AA degrees from St. John’s University.

With his wife Liz, they raised their son and daughter in Rye.

He enjoys family, friends, retirement, old cars, Rye story tellers’ group and producing art.
His favorite quote is from Lou Gehrig in 1939, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”   He feels the same.

Rye Post 128 2019-20 Kick-off Meeting on Thursday, September 19, 2019

Plan to attend the Rye Post 128 2019-20 kick-off meeting on Thursday, September 19 at 7:30 PM at the Rye Recreation in Rye.

At this meeting we will outline our goals, mission and key activities for the year. Rye Post 128 leads many community activities to foster service to veterans, patriotism in the community, and sponsorship of youth programs. Our key activities include:

  • Rye Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies
  • Sponsorship of Rye High School essay scholarships
  • Service to Montrose VA hospital patients
  • Auxiliary leads Rye Memorial Day parade activities

The Rye Post has been serving the city since 1919 and is its only active veterans’ organization.  Your participation and support is critical to continued advocacy for veterans’ rights and benefits as well as for our community-focused programs.  Applications for membership will be available at the meeting.

We look forward to seeing you.

RYE HONORS ITS WAR DEAD ON MEMORIAL DAY 2019

Update:  Also see coverage in Rye Record:  Rye Record Memorial Day 2019

On Memorial Day, May 27, 2019 the City of Rye carried on its tradition of honoring its war dead. The Rye American Legion Post Auxiliary organized a parade through town which featured Legionnaires, marching bands, fire trucks, cyclists, classic cars, Rye’s Boys and Girls Scouts, and local government officials. Following the parade, Rye American Legion Post 128 conducted the Memorial Day ceremony.

American Legion Post 128 Commander Fred de Barros welcomed all to the Village Green. Rye City Mayor Josh Cohn also welcomed guests, as did NYS Senator Shelley Mayer and NYS Assemblyman Steve Otis.

The keynote speaker was Rye resident, Post 128 Legionnaire and US Marine Corps Gulf War veteran Terry McCartney.

The roll of honor was read by Legionnaire Tim Moynihan.

Sally Rogol of the Rye Recreation department received the 2019 Americanism Award for service to community and veterans.

The ceremony included the traditional reading of the Gettysburg Address. The John M. Kingery Memorial Day Essay Contest Awards were presented to winning Rye High School students. The program also included recognition of Rye Eagle Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Robin Latimer, president of the American Legion Auxiliary sang the National Anthem and God Bless America. She was accompanied by Cub Scouts, Brownies and children from all around Rye.

Additionally, Commander de Barros honored deceased veterans buried at the John Jay estate in afternoon ceremonies.

Photos from the day follow the text of Terry McCartney’s keynote speech:

“Fields of Honor”

By Terry McCartney

Rye Memorial Day Speech 2019

State Assemblyman Otis, County Legislator Parker, Mayor Cohn, City Council Members Hurd, Mecca, Tagger-Epstein and Souza, Lisa Tannenbaum from Congressman Engel’s office, Chaplain Malin, Honorees, Distinguished Guests, Members of Rye American Legion Post 128, veterans and citizens of Rye: Welcome and Happy Memorial Day!

It is an honor for me to have the opportunity to address you today.  As I am no longer a public figure, these occasions are now fewer and much farther between for me.  Memorial Day and Veterans Day are significant holidays for me because everyone in my family served in the military or in other branches of government (State Department, FBI) so it means a lot to me to be involved here today and I thank my Legion brothers for the opportunity.  Fred told me I have 6 minutes to say something inspiring.  I will do my best, but I hope you’ll bear with me if it takes a minute or two longer.

First, thank you all for taking the time out of your holiday weekend to attend this Memorial Day ceremony and acknowledge those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  I want start by reminding you that this is NOT a holiday for veterans or to thank veterans for their service.  We have that holiday in November.  Today is the day we acknowledge those men and women who never got the chance to be a veteran or to be thanked for their service.

Today is the day we thank them for making the ultimate sacrifice, though they can no longer hear us.  That’s why we’re all here right now.

A few weeks ago, I had another honor when I attended a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.  It was such a moving experience for me, I want to share some of it with you here today.  It was my first time there.  If you have seen the amazing sights of our Nation’s Capital like my favorites – the cherry blossoms in bloom along the Tidal Basin in the Spring, the nearby Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials, the Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial, the Air & Space Museum, or the Smithsonian, but you have never visited Arlington National Cemetery, I would recommend it to you.  It is a completely different experience than any other place in D.C. and a worthy addition to your American bucket list.  Visitors are welcome at Arlington National, so you need not be attending a memorial service as I was.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the many memorials there.  It is guarded 24/7/365 by the very impressive U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as the “Old Guard.”  President John F. Kennedy’s eternal flame also burns, even through rain and snow, at Arlington National.

Arlington National Cemetery first opened in 1864 and is a breath-takingly beautiful place that leaves you with a deep sense of awe and respect for the sacrifices that have been made for our country by its diverse citizens.  The 624 acres of Arlington National sit mostly atop high ground overlooking the Potomac River not far from the Pentagon.  The land once belonged to Robert E. Lee and his wife Mary Anna Custis Lee, who was the great granddaughter of Martha Washington, the first First Lady of the United States.  You can see most of the District of Columbia and the monuments from the vantage point of Arlington National.

I am here to suggest to you today that perhaps the most important monuments in Washington, D.C. are the NOT the 30 or so big ones made out of marble across the Potomac but rather the over 400,000 simple stone grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery.  I say that not to disrespect the monuments to great Americans like Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln or monuments such as the Marine Corps War Memorial which, to me, is the most inspiring statue in D.C. because it depicts six everyday Americans from diverse backgrounds, one a Native American, raising the flag atop Mount Surabachi on Iwo Jima after one of the bloodiest battles of WWII in which 7,000 Marines and 21,000 Japanese soldiers died.  Rather, I say that those 400,000 small markers are important monuments because they represent the lives of the everyday men and women of America that were cut short defending our freedom.

Those small white monuments represent husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters from small towns like Rye all over the United States.  Because of them, we wake up every day of our lives free to do whatever we choose to do: go to school (or not), go to work (or not), go to the beach or play golf or go fishing, go on a vacation, say whatever you want, do whatever you want…  If those lives had not been sacrificed during the many wars our service men and women have fought, the world would be a very different place today and you might not have those freedoms.  Almost 7,000 service men and women have died in combat since 9/11 so Memorial Day is not only about history.  There are service men and women deployed all over the world right now placing their lives at risk to make us safer here at home.

Some of them may not come home.

At Arlington National, the neat rows of simple white grave markers go on and on by the thousands in every direction against the green grass and rolling landscape of the old farm.  Today, a flag has been placed at each and every one of those 400,000 grave markers.  It must be beautiful.  Most importantly, those grave markers represent men and women from every state, every branch of the service, every race and every religion that makes up our great union. There are Christian crosses next to Muslim crescents next to Jewish Stars of David everywhere you look in Arlington National.  Yet, there is no division or partisanship or tribalism on that field of honor.  The dead at Arlington rest as they lived: different but the same in their commitment to our American ideals, from diverse backgrounds but united to protect those ideals.  We should all take a lesson from those everyday Americans.  Every one of them died knowing that freedom for all of us matters more than any one of us.  Every one of them placed their duty as Americans above themselves.  It is right that we remember them here today.

The service I attended at Arlington National Cemetery was for one of those everyday American heroes – Sergeant John Spagnoli of Queens, New York.  Like the many Rye citizens whose names you will hear when the Roll of Honor is read in a few minutes, Sgt. Spagnoli was a member of the “Greatest Generation.”  He was the father of a good friend of mine.  Sgt. Spagnoli earned a Bronze Star for courage in combat in April 1945 when he rescued a wounded member of his unit under intense enemy fire in a firefight in Germany just a few months before the war ended.  I knew Mr. Spagnoli for many years but he never once mentioned his Bronze Star or his heroism to me.  I found out about it at his service.  Mr. Spagnoli would have been embarrassed to talk about it.  Like the other members of the Greatest Generation, they didn’t think about themselves – they thought about being part of something bigger than themselves – they did the right thing just because it was the American way.

That phrase, “the Greatest Generation” was coined by former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw and he wrote a great book about WWII veterans bearing that title a few years ago.  Read it if you haven’t, it’s excellent.  The Greatest Generation is an entire generation of regular everyday Americans who understood the concepts of duty, honor and country and did their duty when their nation and the world needed them.  Those young men and women went off to war by the train load and ship load to serve in hellish places like Guadalcanal, Saipan and Tarawa in the South Pacific, the Hurtgen Forest, Anzio and Normandy in Europe and Tobruk, the Kasserine Pass and Tunis in North Africa.  As a result, thousands of our best young people died on fields of honor in those far off lands.

We lost one our own members of the Greatest Generation, Rye American Legion member and local florist Dante Rich, back in March of this year.  Mr. Rich was a 1940 graduate of Rye High and served in the European theater in WWII as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 bomber.  It took incredible courage to be a ball turret gunner on a B-17 because you were a threat to the German fighter planes so they targeted you first when attacking the slow moving bombers.  Imagine hanging from the bottom of a big B-17 bomber in a glass bubble at 10,000 or 15,000 feet and seeing a group of German fighters come into view below.  On about his 10 mission, Mr. Rich’s B-17 was hit by enemy fire and was forced to crash land in a farmer’s field. With the help of Allied Resistance fighters, Mr. Rich made it back to friendly lines and eventually came home to Rye.

Many other Rye men weren’t as fortunate as Mr. Rich.  Listen for their names when the Roll of Honor is read today and let them soak into your soul.  They are the citizens of Rye who died on other fields of honor in faraway places.  They are the Rye High School classmates of men like Dante Rich and Ed Dempsey who didn’t make it back home to Rye.  That’s why we’re here today.

Not to mourn and be sad, but to celebrate the courage and self-sacrifice of the brave men and women who lived and died for the greater good.  As General George S. Patton, Jr. said in a speech in Boston in June of 1945, about a month after Nazi Germany had surrendered and the war in Europe had been won, when asked about all of the soldiers who had died in WWII: “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.  Rather, we should thank God that such men lived!”   Today, we are thankful that all of the men of Rye on our Roll of Honor lived!

So, in conclusion, let’s each of us decide here today that we will follow the example of the men and women laid to rest in Arlington as well as the example of the Rye men on our own Roll of Honor who gave their lives for us and let’s choose to be more like them: more selfless, more unified and more willing to sacrifice.

We are at a crossroads in our Country right now but those who have gone before us have set the example for us to follow.  It is up to us now to move forward.  Let’s choose to go down the high road that they have cleared for us through their sacrifice.  Let’s choose to work together to make our neighborhoods, our city, our county, our state and our country better today than they were yesterday.  Let’s answer the call of duty, as they did, whether it means serving others, turning out to vote, being better parents, a better neighbor, a better student, a better volunteer, a better elected representative or just a plain old better human being.  If we do, those who made the ultimate sacrifice will not have died in vain in those faraway places.  If we do, we will truly honor their memories on this Memorial Day.

May God bless those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, you and your families, the City of Rye and may God bless America!  Thank you.

Memorial Day 2019 Speaker Announced

Rye American Legion Post 128 is delighted to announce that fellow Legionnaire and Rye resident Terrence McCartney will be the main speaker  at this year’s Memorial Day ceremony.  The ceremony begins immediately following the Memorial Day parade at approximately 10:30am at Rye City Hall on Monday, May 27, 2019.

Terry was born in Hawaii to parents who both served in the United States Air Force so he and his four siblings grew up on military bases all over the country. His father retired from the Air Force after 26 years of service when Terry was 12 years old and his family settled in the Tidewater region of Virginia.  Terry graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1986 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on the same day.  All of Terry’s siblings or their spouses are either military veterans or have served in other branches of government.  Terry’s eldest sister Rose served in the State Department’s Foreign Service for 30 years and was appointed to be the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador and Peru by Presidents Bush and Obama.

Terry served on active duty as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps from 1986 to 1991, including numerous overseas deployments in command of infantry units and as a General’s aide-de-camp at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C. during Operation Desert Storm. Terry left active duty to attend law school in 1991 but continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves until 1997.  He was honorably discharged from the Marines holding the rank of Major.

Terry is an accomplished trial lawyer who practices nationally in the field of product liability law focusing primarily on automobile and trucking crashworthiness cases.  Terry lectures regularly around the country and has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by his peers for fifteen consecutive years. He is admitted to practice law in both New York and California and has also been admitted to practice in numerous other states throughout his career.  Terry started a new law firm last year, McCartney Stucky LLC, which has offices here in Rye and in Kansas City, Missouri.

Terry has been married for 32 years to his college sweetheart, Julia Rheingold, who grew up in Rye and graduated from Rye High School. Julia and Terry have two adult sons, Jack and Daniel.  Daniel attends the adult special needs program at Ability Beyond in Chappaqua and his big brother Jack, a Rye High graduate like his mom, is a real-life rocket scientist at the SpaceX launch facility in California.  Terry enjoys playing golf, fly fishing and reading in his free time.

Terry is an active member of the Rye community and served on the Rye City Council from 2013 to 2017. He is currently serving on the Rye Golf Club Commission.  Terry coached Rye Little League and Rye Babe Ruth baseball, CYO basketball and Sound Shore youth football for many years.  He founded the Rye Boxing Club in 2004 and continues to teach about 30 Rye boys and girls to box every year.  Terry has been a member of Rye American Legion Post 128 since 2002 and has been honored to host a Memorial Day Golf Tournament for the past several years and again this year at the Rye Golf Club to raise money to support Post 128’s scholarship and social programs.

Posts Holds Unserviceable Flag Ceremony

Our Post held an  Unserviceable Flag Ceremony on March 30 at Disbrow Park.  The ceremony was conducted by Commander Fred de Barros who was assisted by Post members Gene Collins, Tom Seaver and Hal Schwartz.  Many thanks to the Rye Fire Department and DPW for assisting with the ceremony.   We retired many flags from residents who had deposited the flags at  our collection box at City Hall.