Service at the Sea Ceremony of the Tonawandas

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By: Brendan McDonough

Reporter for North Tonawanda

On the bridge connecting North Tonawanda to Tonawanda community officials and military leaders payed tribute to fallen soldiers at the annual “Service at Sea” ceremony.  It’s a chance for them to take time out and encourage others to remember those who paid ultimate for our freedoms. 

“Memorial Day isn’t about those of us Veterans, but those who have been taken too soon,” said Rick Davis, Mayor of Tonawanda.” We stand here honoring those who made it possible for us to stand here today.” 

More than two dozen people gathered at the Renaissance Bridge to attend the event to memorialize and remember loved ones taken too soon.

“Memorial, what do we mean by Memorial? Even in our own families we have our own way of having a memorial and we memorialize our loved ones because we do not want to lose contact. We do not want to lose the ties that our family and friends have had,” said Art Pappas, Mayor of North Tonawanda. 



John Branning, Superintendent of Ships at the Buffalo Naval Yard, was the guest speaker. He spoke about the ships at the park and the rich history it has to offer. Also telling others to write down their experiences and help preserve a piece of history, for the next generation.

“You have heard me say the word legacy many times and it is up to you to pass it down,” said Branning. “Especially to you veterans. Each year we lose thousands of veterans, the problem is when each one of us pass, we take our experiences with us. Please when you get home use a take recorder or write down your stories. Sit your veteran down, it is just too important.”

The ceremony ended with the tossing of a bouquet of flowers in the canal by Gold Star mother Sally Urban, whose son, Lance Cpl. Timothy Serwinowski, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.


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