On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a pair of Brooklyn veterans were honored in Cadman Plaza Park.
Gathered in front of the Brooklyn War Memorial, members of the Cadman Park Conservancy recognized two local servicemen, including the late Norman Wasserman.
Wasserman, who was drafted as a teenager into WWII, was often a guest of honor at Veterans Day events held by the conservancy. He passed away on September 4 with his wife Tatyana by his side.
“We are grateful for your courage, service and sacrifice,” said conservancy president Doreen Gallo, of Wasserman and the other veterans and service members in attendance. “There are no words that can express the gratitude that each of us holds in our hearts for our veterans.”
The ceremony included a wreath-laying ceremony and a Color Guard march by members of the 6th Communication Battalion of the U.S. Marines. Gallo added that it was also the 246th birthday of the Marine Corps.
Glomani Bravo-Lopez, a veteran who served in the Marine Corps for four years spoke at the event.
“Going in at the age of 17, the Marine Corps allowed me to do something greater than I probably otherwise would have with my life,” he said. “Stepping up to military service allowed me to fulfill a calling that was for something much larger than my own purpose.”
A graduate of James Madison High School, Bravo-Lopez was deployed to combat operations in Iraq twice between 2006 and 2008.
When he returned from service, Bravo-Lopez spent time in construction and real estate before landing a job in the office of Councilman Stephen Levin. He most recently became the senior advisor for Strategic Operations at the Kings County District Attorney’s office.
“I thought at 17 that I knew what it was that I wanted,” said Bravo-Lopez. “Today, I have not one regret for the decision I made that day. If there was one word that could encapsulate what Veteran’s Day means to me, it would be gratitude.”
Levin honored his friend and his former deputy chief of staff at the ceremony.
“I thank all those veterans who have answered the call to service on behalf of this country, and those who have sacrificed so much and continue to sacrifice so much everyday,” he said. “We have to continually strive for peace amongst ourselves and other nations.”
Incoming councilman Lincoln Rester said he hopes to be an advocate for veterans when he takes Levin’s place next year, saying more must be done to support them when they return home from deployment.
“You didn’t make the decision to launch war, but when that decision was made you stood up, served and sacrificed,” he said. “We all owe you a great tremendous debt of gratitude.”