American Legion Post members conduct Memorial Day ceremony

By Gary Alan Ruse….

Pictured (l-r) are Lou Lesinski, Leo Donnarruma, Archie Gilman, Jerry Bryda, George Popadak, Tom Franks, Al Juliachs and Diane Kessell; Color Guard (l-r): Jonathon Belcher, Scoutmaster Jesus Farinas and Nicholas Farinas of Troop 314.

The members of American Legion Post 133, Boy Scout Troop 314, as well as other participating groups and public officials gathered at the post at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 30, for the annual Memorial Day ceremony to honor American military service men and women who gave their lives defending the country.

Post Commander George Popadak, First Vice Commander Jerry Bryda and Second Vice Commander Archie Gilman conducted the ceremony with the assistance of other members. The Color Guard was made up of Scoutmaster Jesus Farinas; his son, Nicholas Farinas, and Jonathon Belcher of Boy Scout Troop 314.

Diane Kessell sang a moving rendition of Taps, a haunting melody dating back to the Civil War that often is played at military funerals and observances.

About 50 people attended the ceremony, including Palmetto Bay officials — Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, Vice Mayor Brian Pariser and Councilmember Joan Lindsay. Weather conditions were ideal for the event.

“We’re very pleased with the attendance that we have, and we’re grateful for the public officials that show up at our functions,” Popadak said. “We’d like to have more people.”

The American Legion ceremony also included the dignified disposal of unserviceable flags and the raising of the post’s American flag at the conclusion of the event. Although local officials attended, no speeches were made.

“Observances like this are so important on Memorial Day,” Mayor Stanczyk said in an interview afterwards. “We should always remember those who have served and given their all for the welfare of our country and its people. It’s good to honor our service men and women, as well as their families and loved ones for their gifts to America.”

Post 133 is located at 16401 SW 90 Ave. in Palmetto Bay.

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