Hero Send-Off for Hudson Valley Veterans

When my Grandfather was alive I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down with him and hear about his life. A graduate of the University of Miami, Rocco Ciccone held a BA in Engineering and also served proudly in the United States Navy as a motor machinist mate second class from 1943-1946. He was a dedicated member of the American Legion in Florida. He worked locally for IBM as an electrical engineer and later took a position with Motorola. He was living in Florida at the time of my tape recorded interviews with him, though he had spent some time in the Hudson Valley when he was working for IBM mid-career. He is my Hudson Valley hero. 

On Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 8am, I was stopped at Stewart International Airport standing on the sidewalk shoulder-to-shoulder with Hudson Valley families all eagerly awaiting their heroes. Thanks to Hudson Valley Honor Flight, surviving veterans of that same great war I mentioned earlier were sent on a complimentary trip to Washington D.C. to tour the World War II Memorial erected in their honor and for their comrades lost during those tumultuous years in world history. 

The morning began with a thunderous introduction across the airport campus with hundreds of motorcycles rolling in to the platform. The band struck a patriotic chord and the buses followed the parade of welcome. Nearly one hundred veterans poured out of the West Point Tours vehicles and proceeded inside to a ceremony led by Andy Komonchak (Happy birthday to You!) and Honor Flight chairman Brian Maher. This is the third Honor Flight out of the Hudson Valley since Maher and former co-chair Steve Nicoli took on the project in 2011. 

“We’re not going anywhere and we still have a lot of work to do.” Maher declares. “We will always be honoring Veterans from our local Valley. After World War II, our next priority becomes our Korean War Veterans and then Vietnam.”

Maher stated that in order to free up as many seats on the plane for Veterans as possible, they had to make arrangements for Guardians and volunteers to meet them in D.C. to help assist the Veterans around the memorials.

Thank you to all of our men and women of service today and everyday. What an honor it was to be there to see them off. Look for some biographies of local veterans coming soon to our news reel. As always if you have happy news and want to share.. email Stefanie@HappyHudsonValley.com 


"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."