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Long Beach honors those who served

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Hundreds of people gathered on Monday at Long Beach City Hall’s sixth floor to honor the men and women that served in the country’s armed forces.

The Veteran’s Day ceremony, sponsored by the Joint Veterans Organization in cooperation with the City of Long Beach, was led by Dan McPhee, a veteran and commander of the Long Beach VFW Post 1384. The ceremony was kicked off by a presentation of colors by the JVO and several scout troops in Long Beach. Girl Scout Troop 2178 also held a presentation, where they announced their Poppy Power Project, a six-month project where the scouts make poppies for veterans and accept donations.

McPhee said that this was the largest turnout for a Veteran’s Day ceremony held at City Hall. He expressed his appreciation for people that take in interest in veterans and their activities.

Dan Steele, a World War II veteran, was among those honored at the ceremony and received a standing ovation. The day before the ceremony, he raised more than $900 selling poppies at Stop & Shop on East Park Avenue. Steele and VFW Post 1384 have been stationed outside of the supermarket and other stores in Long Beach to collect donations. The funds collected allow them to purchase gifts for veterans in nursing homes and medical centers during the holidays.

In the middle of the ceremony, the VFW Honor Guard stepped outside to Kennedy Plaza to perform a firing detail salute in honor of Veterans Day.

Among the many speakers were several local officials, including Assemblywoman Melissa Miller, Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, Acting City Manager John Mirando and City Council President Anissa Moore, who thanked veterans.

Peggy Costigan, who was recently honored by American Legion Victor Murtha Post of Long Beach for her service as president of the American Legion Auxiliary and VFW member, sang the National Anthem and ended the ceremony with a rendition of “God Bless America.”

The invocation was offered by Deacon Robert Reed of St. Ignatius Martyr Roman Catholic Church and the benediction was given by Rabbi Eli Goodman of Chabad of the Beaches.

“This makes me feel like our efforts are worthwhile and not forgotten,” McPhee said.