LEVITTOWN – A proud group of World War II, Vietnam and Korean War veterans were honored at a morning ceremony held by Assemblyman Joseph Saladino at VFW Post 9552 at 55 Hickory Lane in Levittown. At the event, titled Operation Recognition, Assemblyman Joseph Saladino presented the veterans, whose education was interrupted by their service in the United States Armed Forces, with their high school diplomas. Assemblyman Saladino was part of a group of legislators that helped pass the legislation necessary for the certification of the state program, and noted that the presentation of these diplomas is merely a small token of the gratitude he and all Americans have toward these and all veterans.
“The sacrifices our veterans have made for this country are enormous. They deserve our thanks in every way possible,” he said. “The men you see before you today put their lives on hold to protect our way of life, and today we recognize their dedication and selflessness. Additionally, they have earned their diploma through vast, life experience.”
In total, 20 diplomas were awarded, one posthumously. Assemblyman Saladino expressed his desire to see the country’s current servicemen and women make a safe and speedy return home so that they, too, may be properly thanked for their dedication and sacrifice.
“As we stand here today, there are thousands of men and women overseas and abroad choosing to put their country before themselves, just as our honorees did so many years ago,” he said. “We hope and pray that each and every one of these brave servicemen and women return home safely.”
Assemblyman Saladino has been a longtime supporter of the military. His father served as an attorney with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Marine Corps in Korea. His grandmother, Jessie Tesoriero, was one of the first women inducted into the US Navy during World War I. In addition, Assemblyman Saladino is an honorary member of the Sunrise Detachment, Marine Corps League in Massapequa.
Operation Recognition is a service available to any veteran that attended a New York state high school and served during wartime. Assemblyman Saladino stressed that, while the diplomas were earned and well deserved, the event was about more than simple pieces of paper.
“Operation Recognition is about looking our veterans in the eye, shaking their hand, and saying ‘Thank you.’ Today, I say from the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of everyone in our Assembly District, thank you.”