The event was presided over by Assemblyman Rory Lancman and began with a Color Guard procession by the Boy Scouts as well as a salute to the veterans in attendance.
“Each memorial tells the story of the men and women who earned it,” said Lancman. “World War I was a brutal war founGHT in the trenches of Europe; it was an awful war even as wars go.”
Lancman explained the trees in Memorial Knoll were originally dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt’s son Quentin, who died in the line of duty, as well as other World War I veterans by the Park Garden Club in 1920.
At the time, the club planted red poppies at the site to commemorate the blood spilled on the battlefields of Europe.
A year later a commemorative boulder was added to the site.
Coucilman James Gennaro, who has a background in geology and spoke at the ceremony, said the boulder is a glacial erratic in existence since the Ice Age and serves as a perfect metaphor for the occasion.
“That rock has seen a lot, all of recorded history; a lot of people being born and dying. It is a fitting monument because it has been here for the ages and will be here through the ages,” Gennaro said. “As long as that rock is sitting here, that’s how long we should honor our veterans.”
Lancman and the veterans unveiled a new sign with the history of the Knoll as the Boy Scout troop planted a new tree at the site.
The ceremony was closed with a rendering of the national anthem by the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Youth Choir.
Assembly members Ellen Young and Toby Stavinsky were present for the ceremony, as were councilmen John Liu and Tony Avella and members of the Kissena Park Civic Association, who coordinated the event and donated the new tree.