Memorial Day is for more than just shopping, marine says

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday should be about more than just barbecues, shopping excursions and trips to the beach, according to a US Marine, who said he’s concerned Americans have forgotten the real meaning of the day.

 “It’s more of a commercial day. It has lost its meaning,” Lt. Col. Richard Bordonaro told a roomful of military veterans at a breakfast event in Bay Ridge on May 16. “What we’ve lost is reflection of what the holiday is about,” he said. Many Americans don’t take the time to think about the holiday’s purpose – to honor those who have died in America’s wars – he said.

 Bordonaro, an inspector-instructor with the Marine Corps 6th Communications Battalion, was one of two military men receiving awards from state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) at the lawmaker’s annual Memorial Day Breakfast at the Bay Ridge Manor Thursday morning. Golden traditionally holds the breakfast a few weeks before Memorial Day. Howard Dunn, a World War II Navy veteran, was honored along with Bordanaro.

 Bordanaro, who said his unit will march in the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade on May 27, urged civilians to “take time to reflect on the men and women who paid the last full measure” and to “remember the sacrifices these men and women have made.”

 The breakfast drew hundreds of veterans, including men and women who fought in every conflict from World War II to the war in Afghanistan. Members of American Legion and VFW posts, as well as Catholic war veterans and Jewish war veterans groups, show up with large contingents every year to enjoy a free breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, and potatoes and to listen as Golden praises them for their service to the country. Ex-prisoners of war and members of Rolling Thunder, the motorcycle riding group of Vietnam War veterans, were also at the event.

 “Everyone in this room deserves our thanks and appreciation,” Golden said. “We are the greatest nation on earth.  What’s most important is to teach our young people why. We are a great nation because we have the best military in the world,” he said.

 Golden presented citations to Bordonaro and Dunn, explaining that the two men would also be receiving State Senate proclamations within a few days. Bordonaro was honored for his efforts to assist Hurricane Sandy victims in the Rockways and for his participation every year in the  Firefighter Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run, Golden said. The run is held every year in memory of firefighter Stephen Siller who was killed in the Sept. 11 terror attack at the World Trade Center.

 Dunn, a member of the Amity Post of the American Legion, was singled out for his work with the Wounded Warrior Project, an effort to help military men and women who have lost limbs in battle. Dunn has visited injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and has raised more than $28,000 for veteran’s causes, Golden said. “Its guys like Howie who give them a real boost,” Golden said. Dunn is also famous in Bay Ridge for his effort to plant American flags on sidewalks in front of stores. Golden also noted that Dunn, a cancer survivor, has been active in the Boy Scouts of America since 1939.

 In his remarks, Dunn paid tribute to the Wounded Warriors. “They deserve every help we all can give them. Please support the Wounded Warriors as much as you can,” he said.

 The event included the playing of “Taps” in memory of those killed in America’s wars.