Buffalo Naval Park celebrates Veterans Day with Wall of Honor ceremony

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Nov. 10, 2017 – The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park added six new Western New Yorkers to its Wall of Honor this morning during its annual Veterans Day (observed) ceremony held in the park’s Hangar Building. In addition, park officials announced that all veterans who wish to come tour the ships and museum on Saturday, Nov. 11, will receive free admission from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with proper military I.D.

A wonderful crowd as the Naval Park adds six new Western New Yorkers to its Wall of Honor during its annual Veterans Day (observed) ceremony held on Friday, Nov. 11 in the Hangar Building.

“Veterans Day, unlike Memorial Day, is a day to celebrate all of our veterans, past and present, throughout our communities,” said Naval Park Executive Director Brian Roche, a retired Captain in the U.S. Coast Guard. “What better way for a park dedicated to honoring their service than to invite them to join us on a day that’s dedicated to thanking them for their sacrifices.”

The honorees added to the Wall of Honor include:

  • Dolores Kwiatkowski was one the Naval Park’s first employees when its doors opened in 1979. Upon the death of the park’s first superintendent, Kwiatkowski became the subject matter expert and unofficial park historian. She was frequently relied upon by all staff members for her extensive knowledge. Sadly, in 2016 Dolores passed away after a long series of illnesses.
  • Monsignor Dino Lorenzetti served as a Staff Sargent in the Army from Nov. 1942 to Dec. 1945. He was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in 1954 and still today — 63 years later — celebrates mass for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish service members and their families.
  • Edmund Mozgawa served as petty officer second class in the U.S. Navy. Mozgawa was killed on Nov. 13, 1942 when the USS Juneau was sunk by a Japanese submarine, killing the majority of the 700 crewmembers aboard, including the five Sullivan Brothers, for whom the Buffalo Naval Park’s Destroyer is named.
  • Jeremiah Reilly served as a Gunner’s Mate, Third Class, originally assigned to the USS Brooklyn but reassigned to the USS Juneau. Reilly was also among the casualties on Nov. 13, 1942.
  • Gerald Sansone enlisted in the Navy in 1961 at just 17 years old with his father’s written consent. He served in active duty on the USS Independence from Jan. 1961 to Dec. 1965. He was honorably discharged on March 12, 1968.
  • Harry Uhl was drafted into the U.S. Army in Sept. 1965. He was sent to Vietnam in Feb. 1966 and was part of the Mortar Platoon of Company B, 1st Infantry Division. Uhl, earned a Bronze Star in Oct. 1966 and earned the rank of Sergeant E5 in Jan. 1967. His service of Vietnam ended in Feb. 1967.
  • The ceremony included speeches and stories from family members as well as personal accounts from surviving Wall of Honor Inductees.

​”This is a moment to reflect upon the dedication, courage, and willing sacrifice of all those who wear the nation’s uniform,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Regardless of where they are stationed or the nature of their service, in peace and in war, these men and women have answered the call of duty. Today’s ceremony at the Buffalo and Erie Naval Park honors their service and reminds us all of the price of freedom.”

In addition to comments from the Lt. Governor, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (63rd District) reflected on the generations of men and women that served for the great country we live.

“I am humbled to participate in today’s ceremony honoring the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “On this Veterans Day, we should take stock of how lucky we are to live in a nation where generations of service members have selflessly given so much of themselves to protect our freedom.”

State Assemblyman Mickey Kearns (142nd District) spoke to the level of pride we should have for our veterans.

“The commitment, bravery and devotion embodied by this country’s veterans is something, as a citizen, to be deeply proud of,” said Assemblyman Mickey Kearns. “Their great sense of selflessness and courage represents the best of the best in our community. We know that our veterans didn’t join the service, that their families didn’t make sacrifices, for the awards and recognition, but we as a society owe these men and women a debt of gratitude for putting us before themselves. For dedicating their lives to ensuring that this country can continue to strive to reach its greatest ideals. I am humbled and honored to stand beside these great men and women, and say thank you to all those who have served.”

A proclamation was read by Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo and the ceremony was emceed by Naval Park Board Chairman Don Alessi.

“Veterans Day is celebrated each year on Nov. 11, commemorating the end of World War I — at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 — when the peace treaty with Germany went into effect,” Mr. Alessi added. “Like this day, our Wall of Honor provides an everlasting tribute to all who have served in our armed forces.”

Whether honoring those who are still with us or remembering those who have gone before us, an inscription on the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park Wall of Honor not only serves as a lasting memorial for all to see, but it also celebrates that veteran’s life for generations to come. To submit a veteran’s name to be inscribed on the Wall of Honor, please visit: buffalonavalpark.org/support-us/wall-of-honor/.

The family of Edmund Mozgawa, a petty officer second class in the U.S. Navy. Mozgawa was killed on Nov. 13, 1942 when the USS Juneau was sunk by a Japanese submarine, killing the majority of the 700 crew members aboard, including the five Sullivan Brothers, for whom the Buffalo Naval Park’s Destroyer is named.

The family of Jeremiah Reilly, a Gunner’s Mate, Third Class, originally assigned to the USS Brooklyn but reassigned to the USS Juneau. Reilly was also among the casualties on Nov. 13, 1942.

The family of Dolores Kwiatkowski, one the Naval Park’s first employees when its doors opened in 1979. Upon the death of the park’s first superintendent, Kwiatkowski became the subject matter expert and unofficial park historian. She was frequently relied upon by all staff members for her extensive knowledge. Sadly, in 2016 Dolores passed away after a long series of illnesses.

Sgt. Harry Uhl being presented his Wall of Honor plaque by Board Chairman Don Alessi. Sgt, Uhl was drafted into the U.S. Army in Sept. 1965. He was sent to Vietnam in Feb. 1966 and was part of the Mortar Platoon of Company B, 1st Infantry Division. Uhl, earned a Bronze Star in Oct. 1966 and earned the rank of Sergeant E5 in Jan. 1967. His service of Vietnam ended in Feb. 1967.

The daughter of Gerald Sansone speaking on his behalf, as he and his wife stand alongside her. Sansone enlisted in the Navy in 1961 at just 17 years old with his father’s written consent. He served in active duty on the USS Independence from Jan. 1961 to Dec. 1965. He was honorably discharged on March 12, 1968.

96-year-old Monsignor Dino Lorenzetti speaking about his time in war and priesthood. Lorenzetti served as a Staff Sargent in the Army from Nov. 1942 to Dec. 1945. He was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo in 1954 and still today — 63 years later — celebrates mass for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish service members and their families.