Fallen Soldiers Of ‘Forgotten’ Wars Get A Day Of Honor On Long Island

7 Former Sayville High School Students Memorialized Forever

SAYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — For years, some families of Korean and Vietnam war veterans felt their brave loved ones were overlooked.

But on Monday on Long Island, seven soldiers from the same home town were finally acknowledged for their courage and bravery decades ago, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Down Main Street they marched. The hamlet of Sayville was filled with emotion and inspiration bestowing honors long overdue.

Tiny tots, their parents and grandparents were on hand waving flags and sharing smiles, decades after their relatives gave their lives. Those names at long last have been proudly chiseled into new granite monuments in Sparrow Park on the village green.

Soldiers of the “forgotten wars” have finally gotten their due.

“Korean War was the forgotten war, Vietnam was the hated war,” said William Perry, the son of a fallen Korean War hero.

Among those overwhelmed at the recognition of the seven soldiers were the son and widow of Army Sgt. Robert Ritter. Killed in action in 1950, Sgt. Ritter died serving as combat photographer for the U.S. in Korea.

“It’s very emotional and I am so proud that Sayville did this in honor of my husband,” Theresa Perry said.

Sayville Memorial Day remembrance

Veterans paid tribute to local soldiers who lost their lives in the Korea and Vietnam wars during a special ceremony on Memorial Day 2011 in Sayville, N.Y. (Photo: CBS 2)

“This recognition means so much to the families. Sergeant Ritter here was totally forgotten,” Sayville historian Christopher Bodkin told McLogan.

Ritter never made it home. His remains are in North Korea.

“Perhaps the day will come when the remains can be brought back,” one veteran said. “Then Sgt. Ritter will receive the hero’s funeral he so richly and rightly deserves.”

“This is a wonderful day, a very somber day, as it should be and should have been a long time ago,” William Perry added.

Seven local heroes from small town America who lost their lives in distant lands finally received the thanks of a grateful nation.

All seven soldiers, whose names are now permanently etched on the war memorial, attended Sayville High School.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Jennifer McLogan
  • tom

    Deepest gratitude for honoring my UNCLE JAMES PATRICK MCGRATH US NAVY SEABEE and each one of THE SAYVILLE SEVEN today

  • Rodin

    KOREA, the never ending “police action”? Still there. Still at it. The first war Amerikkka lost? Then Viet Nam, trillion dollar a year Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Oh, we must certainly take credit for GRENADA, that heroic colonialist enterprise.

    Oops, I forgot the glorious conquest of Panama and Ronald’s murderous proxy campaign in Central America….

    Sorry, there have been a number of successes against powerful enemies since Viet Nam.

    Pfft…. I pity the mindless though well intentioned, robotic, brainwashed troops.

  • hockeylady

    Coverage that is long overdue all over this great county. Thank you to all who served.

  • M.Bettler M.

    My late older Brother was drafted into the US Army in 1951 and
    went to the United Nations Korean Peace Action” aka the Korean War.
    I was 12 years of age going on 13 when he returned and remember his
    violent nightmares,he was in the Battle’s of “Pork Chop Hill “and “Old Baldy”
    Fifty thousand + Americans died over there and came home without fanfare
    or respect for what they did. He only once talked to me about that war when
    his own wife at age 54 was dying of Lupus ,the fear was prominent in his
    mind ,the fear of the future as he said he had felt during the endless bombing
    in the mountain warfare as our troops took on on the N.Korean forces from
    who were on top ,shooting our guys trying to advance upon them from way
    down below. Yes, Who remembers that ,who who was there cares to recall?

  • Jenna Lund Murphy

    Thank you for coming out to Sayville to cover this.

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