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Rye Honors Fallen Soldiers

Veterans in Rye Monday honored fallen comrades at a Memorial Day ceremony at City Hall.

Rye Post 128 led the remembrance of those who have died in military service.

“It was great,” said Rye Post 128 Commander James K. Burke and MC. “We had a high turnout from the community.”

People stood in the lobby of City Hall’s auditorium, which had filled up to capacity. The ceremony was intended to be held outdoors on the lawn, but was moved due to potential rain.

The original keynote speaker, Rye native and U.S. Marine Corps Captain Jason Armas, was redeployed to Afghanistan. Rye resident Bertrand de Frondeville, 76, gave the address in Armas’ absence. De Frondeville, who was eight years old when American troops landed in Normandy, France during World War II, spoke about his appreciation for the soldiers who fought to liberate his country from the Nazi occupation.

State Assemblyman George S. Latimer and his wife Robin, both Rye residents, were presented with the 2011 Americanism Award, which the Rye Post 128 awards to those it feels have excelled in community service.

Rye High School student Claudia Hentschel received first place in the John M. Kingery Memorial Essay Contest, though she was unable to attend the event. Her mother read her essay in her place.

Former Post Commander Thomas M. Saunders was awarded the Westchester Country Legionnaire of the Year and recognitions were given to Eagle Scouts Christopher LaMagna, Yuta Makita, James Higney and Daniel Newmark.

The Rolls of Honor were read, listing the 59 names of soldiers from Rye who died serving in past wars from World War I to Vietnam. A total of 2,113 Rye residents served in wars and one, Vaughn Dale Prunier who fought in Korea, was missing in action.

During the reading, members of the Rye Post 128 and Women’s Auxiliary placed wreaths at Rye’s war memorial outside City Hall.

Reverend Messenger Edward D. O’Donnel of the Church of the Resurrection gave the benediction, followed by a playing of the Taps by Rye High School student Kevin Miller as the Rye Post 128 saluted the fallen.

“I’ve been in Rye 28 years,” said Rye Mayor Doug French. “This has been the best Memorial Day event we’ve ever had. I couldn't be more proud.”

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