This Veterans Day we have to say a heartfelt “Thank you” to all service men and women that are with us, and those who have died for us protecting our country so we all can be free. This weekend was a special one for my family. My grandfather was honored for his service at our church on Saturday evening, with a special ceremony to commemorate his service history…….
|Louis A. Fiore|
He had just enlisted
My grandfather, Louis A. Fiore, died in 1962 from cancer. I was about 7 years old and only remember a little about him. He was a wonderful man, husband, father, and grandfather, but he was also in the Army, and one of the bravest men in WWI. My grandfather was a Corporal in the U.S. Army’s 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division, Company A. He was 17 when he enlisted. (he was under age) He did not tell his mother that he enlisted till after the fact. My great grandmother, Madeline, had 9 children. Five were boys, all of whom were in the Armed Services. One of my grandfather’s brothers was in the Coast Guard, and his other three brothers were in the Army. My grandfather was wounded, (shot in the leg) in the battle at Chateau-Thierry, in France. He was taken to a MASH unit and told the Dr’s to take care of the other soldiers first. He was very compassionate and thought that there were other men that were hurt more than he was. Finally, he had his surgery and was taken with an ambulance to another site. As they were leaving in the ambulance, they looked back and the MASH unit where he had his surgery had been blown up. He received a Purple Heart for his bravery and other medals as well. After his leg healed, he chose to go to Germany and joined the Army of Occupation with his old unit. He wanted to see if any of his Army buddies were still alive and made it out ok. (The Army of Occupation goes into a defeated country to enforce peace and keep order) When he died he was buried with honors in the Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y. As you can see he was brave, compassionate, and fought for our freedom…………..
|Louis A. Fiore (1916-1919)|
As my whole family entered the church, we were greeted by retired service men in full dress uniforms. Their medals and pins shone brightly displayed on their chests. They handed out some information about our Nation's Flag and how to fold one properly. We looked over to the right, and there was this beautiful small table decorated with a white lace tablecloth. On this table were 2 photos of the two men that were being honored for their service, from two forgotten wars. One of the photos was of my grandfather. My mother was later presented with this blown up photo of her father.
As the special mass and ceremony at our church, St. Thomas More in Hauppauge, LI started, the honor guard brought up the flags, and placed them on the altar. The honor guard was on behalf of the William F. Taylor Post 9486, of the Veterans of Foreign War. (VFW) They had their uniforms on, and they were very striking. This beautiful mass was to honor not only my grandfather, but also another man, William J. Finn, a Private in the US Army Battery B of the 5th Regiment Artillery 1898 to 1899 of the Spanish American War. His granddaughter, Maryann DeGaynor, was also present to honor his name as well as my mom, dad, and my whole family. After the mass was over, everyone went outside to the flag pole, and the flag ceremony took place. All the Veterans in uniform surrounded the pole as the bugler played "Taps". They then took the flag that was given to my mom at my grandfather’s funeral and hoisted it up on the flag pole. This will be flying on the church’s flag pole in honor of all Veterans. I am extremely proud to have a grandfather who loved his country and defended it for our freedom. Today I honor him on this Veteran's Day. I want to personally thank all of our service men and women, past and present, for their service today and everyday! I pray for their safety and their determination for our freedom.
|Cake my mom had for the |
family celebration after the service
Post script: Last summer my mom found a shoe box of letters my grandfather wrote to his mother when he was in WWI. My mom read them to me, and it was like a good book you couldn’t put down. We stayed up most of the night and read through each one. Some of the letters were very sad, and we cried, but others were interesting on how things worked in the Army. They were very impressive as some of these letters were written in the trenches. One particular letter he wrote, told of him writing to his mother by candle light, and then he said he had to close the letter and put out the candle as the troops were moving in. Another one was when he wrote to his mother to tell her that he had enlisted in the army. There were also papers about his earnings, which he sent back home to his family. It must have been really cold at the time, because in numerous letters he asked for a sweater to be sent to him, and we still do not know if he ever received it. I have to say that that evening as we read the shoebox of letters it bonded my mom and I, plus now I also feel I know my grandfather a little better, a brave soul, for sure!
I want to thank St. Thomas More, the VFW Post 9486, and Jerry Ferrara for making this a very proud and special day for my family. May God Bless America!!!
Till Next Time……..
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