Bill Cook, adjutant at the Glendale Post 104 of the American Legion, led the ceremonies on Monday at the corner of Cooper and Myrtle avenues.
“This is to remind the civilians that people did give up their lives for the freedoms they have, and to thank the veterans who did sacrifice to gain these freedoms,” Cook said.
The memorial, built from bronze by sculptor Anton Schaaf, was erected in 1921 to honor Glendale residents who died in combat during World War I.
Following the ceremony, Community Board 5 chair Vincent Arcuri noted the current veteran unemployment rate and stressed the importance of providing work to those who have fought.
“They need jobs more than we do,” Arcuri said. “These guys are all skilled, well trained, disciplined and loyal.”
Gian Delia, a Marine from 1990-1998 who served in Desert Storm, said it was difficult finding work when he got back, but noted that programs like the G.I. Bill often provide a much-needed option.
“Certainly the veterans should be recognized for what they did,” Delia said. “They did a lot and fought so selflessly.”
Assemblyman Mike Miller also underlined the importance of taking care of returning veterans and addressing the growing rate of mental illness associated with serving.
“We have to make sure we have the facilities available,” Miller said, addressing a growing rate of PTSD patients. “We want to make sure that we can also help to find places for our veterans to go and live, as well as jobs for when they come back.”
Miller added the importance of the monument itself and recognized those in the community who served.
“It’s my honor to be here to honor all those veterans who served all those many years,” Miller said. “I’m here for them as well as my family, my grandfather, my uncle and my father who served.”