On Friday, as part of National Purple Heart Day, the Town of Montgomery hosted a ceremony dedicating a Purple Heart parking spot at town hall.
National Purple Heart Day is a time for Americans to pause to remember and honor the brave men and women who were either wounded on the battlefield or paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
The idea for the parking spot came earlier this year when Rick Penney, a veteran and long-time public servant, met with Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher and requested that purple heart parking signs be put up at town hall and all of the town parks and town-owned properties. Penney worked with the Walden Sons of American Veterans Post 2946 to pay for the signs. He died earlier this year but was at town hall in spirit when the purple heart parking spot was dedicated.
“He could not be here today but I wanted to keep his memory with us and wanted to have him be here in spirit,” Maher said. “Not just thanking him for his service but after his service, he continued to be dedicated to our community, our veterans and honoring them.”
Maher was joined by Highway Superintendent Shaun Meres, Town Clerk Tara Stickles, members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and less than 50 local veterans and community supporters representing a multitude of veterans organizations including Hudson Valley Honor Flight.
Local members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart offered a few words.
“This sign reflects a mission that we at the Military Order of the Purple Heart are working on and that is to bring recognition to those who shed blood for our nation and those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Military Order of the Purple Heart Department of New York Commander William Nazario said. “The reason that is important is because a lot of that is lost in today’s youth and overall population.”
Nazario added that another effort taken to recognize veterans was the renaming of the Bear Mountain Bridge to the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge in 2018.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1782 Commander Richard Drago spoke of the honor and courage of all Purple Heart recipients.
“Today on the anniversary of the Purple Heart, we honor the members of our armed forces for serving as the vanguard of American democracy and freedom around the world,” he said. “Their devotion to duty and love for this country ensures each new generation may enjoy the blessings of liberty, peace and prosperity.”