Armed with a priest and a fist full of American flags, four aging warriors honored the more than 7,000 Brooklynites who died in World War II on a different type of battlefield this past Veterans Day — inside a memorial dedicated to the great conflict which the city uses as a glorified storage shed, according to The Brooklyn Paper.
Stepping over rolled-up rugs and squirming between boxes and crates filled with cut-up logs, the seniors looked over the large bronze plates adorning the walls inside the memorial at the center of Cadman Plaza Park. The plates held the names of Brooklynites who perished in World War II — many of whom 83-year-old Jack Vanasco and his friends knew.
“I grew up with a lot of the guys on this wall,” Vanasco explained. “Many of them were from my old neighborhood and my brother and I would play ball with them.”
Yet with the exception of Vanasco and his squad, the names aren’t read by anyone anymore, save for the few Parks employees who drop off supplies and materials as they pass through the 250-seat auditorium.
The memorial is usually closed to the public. Vanasco and his team only gained entry after a kind-hearted city Parks employee let them inside to pay their respects on Veterans Day.
“It’s truly a disgrace,” Vanasco said. “People should be coming in here so they can look at these names, but instead the city fills it with junk.”
The Brooklyn Paper - November 12, 2010 - By Thomas Tracy