A Mass to honor military veterans past and present, as well as their families, will be celebrated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. It will begin at 7 p.m. at the Wings of Eagles War Plane Museum in Big Flats, Chemung County.
Organizers are asking the public to provide them with names and military branches of people who should be honored, and also to invite family members. Contact Kevin McGill at 607-737-0982 or Ted Semesky at 607-737-0219 with information.
Serving as celebrant of the special Mass will be Father William Leone, a recently retired National Guard chaplain who attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. He currently serves as pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in Irondequoit. Father Leone was featured in the May 2008 Catholic Courier along with four other military chaplains, all of who have Southern Tier ties: Father Lewis Brown, assisting priest at All Saints Parish in Corning/Painted Post and retired captain of the U.S. Navy; Father Patrick Van Durme, who left the pastorate of Our Lady of the Valley Parish in western Steuben County earlier this year to become a chaplain in the U.S. Army; Father John DeSocio, parochial vicar at Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes in Tioga County and retired lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve; and Father Jim Jaeger, sacramental minister at St. Mary in Bath and St. Gabriel in Hammondsport who is a lieutenant colonel and reserve chaplain with the National Guard.
Veterans Day is celebrated nationally on Nov. 11 each year in remembrance of the 1918 signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, when a cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. This took place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for Nov. 11, 1919. A congressional act approved in 1938 made Nov. 11 a legal holiday. The name was changed in 1954 from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to honor all veterans, not just those who served in World War I.