Sacrifices remembered

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Mass importance: (Front left) Ginny Sforza and other residents walk over to the Cosmo Barone Triangle after a special Veterans Day mass.
Never forget: Community members honor fallen soldiers.
Stars and stripes: Locals remember their heroes at the bittersweet Veterans Day celebration.
Flag festivities: Bergen Beach locals gather at the Cosmo Barone Triangle.
Honoring heroes: The St. Bernard Knights of Columbus dedicated a new flagpole for Cosmo Barone, a Bergen Beach veteran.

America’s heroes will never be forgotten in Bergen Beach.

More than 50 residents celebrated Veterans Day on Nov. 9 by remembering selfless soldiers with a flag raising ceremony at the Cosmo Barone Triangle, a park named after a local Vietnam veteran.

The St. Bernard Knights of Columbus donated a new, 30-foot flagpole for the event, dedicating it to all brave Americans who served their country.

The somber ceremony — which included patriotic music and touching tributes — was about honoring heroes everywhere, said a local who helped organize the event.

“We honored all veterans — living, deceased, of all wars,” said John Piccirillo, an officer of the St. Bernard Knights of Columbus in Bergen Beach. “We think it is important to remember the service and sacrifice.”

Piccirillo said plenty of people attended the event to honor Barone, an Army private who received three Purple Hearts after being paralyzed from the waist down during his selfless service. Piccirillo said it was touching to see so many people honoring the hero, who died from his injuries in his late-20s.

“He had cousins there, extended family there,” he said. “For a young guy, he was very heroic.”

The ceremony closed with the patriotic songs, “God Bless America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” — and Piccirillo said the day reminded everyone that soldiers’ sacrifices are eternal.

“There were tears,” he said. “Just because time goes on, it doesn’t mean their action is diminished.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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