North Tonawanda Service by the Sea 2018

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

They came to honor and remember those war hero’s who made it home and those who didn’t.

On the Renaissance Bridge City officials alongside community members took part in the annual Service of the Sea Ceremony.

“Whenever we come to this ceremony and celebrate, we are on top of this bridge, we celebrate in a way what the Veterans have done for this country. We certainly hope that the people who are in their boats beneath, when they look up they realize we are honoring Veterans, we hope they take note of this,” said Art Pappas, Mayor of North Tonawanda.

Through prayers and poems, they paid tribute to those Veteran soldiers.

“Memorial Day isn’t about those of us veterans standing here today but those taken much too soon, we stand here honoring those that make it possible for us to stand here today,” said Rick Davis, Mayor of Tonawanda.

The family of Lance Corporal Timothy Serwinowski was there. He is from North Tonawanda and died June 21, 2011 while support combat operations in Helmand, a province in Afghanistan. He was just 21 years old and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

His parents surrounded by his sisters threw flowers in the canal, as the community honored him. The band played taps, as white doves were released into the sky.

For many it was a very emotional day.

“I think what the American Legion, The Veterans and the Marines do here is necessary, so people will remember what Memorial Days means. To see people come out for it, even though most of them are Veterans, it’s their family members and my heart goes out to the Gold Star mothers, I can not even fathom what is going threw their heads,” said Jackie Smilinich, North Tonawanda Resident.

For Veterans it’s an event they attended every year. They say it’ s a day to remember and honors those who did so much for our freedoms. “We have remembered the ones that lost their lives, the ones that came before us. The unfortunate ones, the ones that are crippled or missing limbs. I am very, very thankful to the Lord that that I am here,” John Lukasiak, World War II veteran.

Memorial for many is often referred to as the official kick off to summer but many people here today say they hope people will remember those soldiers who paid the ultimate price not just this weekend but all year long.







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