Vietnam War Memorial
2:00 p.m. on Sunday,
October 27, 2002 at Veterans Memorial Park
to the Memory of
Robert P. Gandil
Thomas J. Holden
Michael J. Macarell
Memorial Dedication Service [Story & photos]
[Photos Group 2]
[Proclamation][Biography][Record Story Oct. 24, 2003]
To the community of Hasbrouck Heights:
success of any program is attributed to the most visible individual, the one out front, if
you will. The Memorial Dedication event of October 27 was no exception. Although I had the
honor of presiding over the event, I would be very foolish and less than honest to portray
this event as my personal quest. So, it is with high regard and profound gratitude that I
now recognize the individuals and groups, whose contributions elevated this proceeding to
a place in Hasbrouck Heights History.
Since every facet
of this program was vitally important, I cannot attribute any measure to each of these
individuals, other than listing them as I recall from my notes. Accordingly, they are:
All my friends
at VFW Memorial Post 4591, especially Ed Mahonchek, Pete De Rosa, Ralph Daniels, Elmer
Winterfeld, Mike Conti and the ladies of the Auxiliary for the center pieces and the
excellent service at the luncheon.
Post 106, especially Mike Cahill and my friend and fellow Vietnam Vet, Lou Mujica.
The 196th Light
Infantry Brigade Assoc., especially my new friend and fellow Vietnam Veteran, Ken
McKenzie, who traveled from Michigan via Florida to pay his respects to his friend, Mike
Athletes Reunion Assoc., especially my new friends, fellow Marines and Vietnam Vets, Ed
Conti, and Gene Carrington, and my new friend, Kevin Jones, who all contributed a wealth
of information about their friend, fellow Marine and classmate, Tommy Holden.
Veterans of America, Chapter 800, especially the leader of the color guard, Walter.
Veterans Assoc. Taijon Chapter 170, especially, my friend, Sal Altomare and Richard
especially my fellow Vietnam Vet, John Rosillo.
H. H. Police
Department, especially my friend and classmate, Capt. Bob Kronke.
H. H. Fire
Department, especially Capt. Bob Thomasey.
Police, Bloomfield Barracks, especially my son, Dan Vecchio and Joe Brennan, Bag Piper.
Sheriffs Department, especially Doug Lanzo and Lt. Bigott.
H. H. Dept of
Public Works, especially Jim Schneider and Angelo Roccamo.
staff of the Observer, especially Cathy Brunetti and Donna Woods.
fellow Marine and Vietnam Vet, Ray Alameda for his excellent rendition of our National
My good friend,
fellow Vietnam Vet and neighbor, Tony Mayo, whose position as Sergeant of the Guard, added
a particular military flavor that I was trying to achieve.
My friend and
classmate, Bob Searle, whose impassioned presentation made it obvious to all what Mike
Macarell meant to us.
Justin DiPisa and John Wassberg, who from the first meeting agreed to the design,
placement and cost of the Memorial Plaque and shared in my enthusiasm of the prospect of
having some kind of memorial service.
Torre and Assemblywomen Rose Marie Heck for their excellent and moving speeches, that I am
certain touched the hearts of the families of our three heroes.
Steven Rothman and State Senator Joseph Coniglio, whose mere presence spoke volumes to the
families and whose words moved many, if not all, of the Vietnam Vets.
Louis Tedesco, who by innocent error, was never recognized at the ceremony and graciously
never even mentioned it you honored us by your presence.
Bugles Across America, for a rendition of "TAPS", that I personally have never
been more moved.
a resident of our town, who was a classmate of Tommy Holden and volunteered her time to
publicize our event.
Vet and Marine, John Huhn, who pointed me in the right direction when I started my search
for the family of Robert Gandil.
My new friend,
John Macarell, who was my initial point of contact and through his efforts, was able to
have over 20 of his family attend the service.
Holden-Corr, cousin to Tommy Holden, for supplying me information about Tommys
childhood and the impact his death had on the family.
lone surviving sister of Mike Macarell, for fighting off the grief of revisiting the
circumstances surrounding Mikes death and supplying me with information about
Mikes tenure in the military and his life at home.
Alice and Victoria for providing me with very personal and sensitive memoirs and trusting
me with their custody.
Huelster, a classmate of Robert Gandil, could not attend the service due to the passing of
her husband. She was my point of contact in attempting to locate other classmates of
and his crew, for volunteering to document our service in film.
My nephew, Bill
Hein, for video taping the entire proceeding.
John Gunn, who publishes an internet periodical to and about Marines in all levels of
sports for including in one of his mailings a significant amount of space devoted
to our Memorial Service and the three men that we honored.
Clerk, Rose Marie Sees, for all of the thankless, time consuming and creative things she
did to make this event successful.
of Schools, Joe Luongo, for not only encouraging a group of High school students to
express good citizenship by attending the ceremony, but also, by example, attending
The citizens of
our community, who took time from their day off to show their support and demonstrate to
the families of these three heroes, that they matter.
To my wife and
best friend, Arleen, who suffered through my obsession to see this event through its
And finally, to
the late Mr. & Mrs. Gandil, Mr. & Mrs. Holden, and Mr. & Mrs. Macarell
for giving to all of us these three special people, that because of knowing them or
knowing about them, our lives are a bit more enriched.