Carroll Gardens Celebrates Its Veterans At Moving Ceremony In Carroll Park

Glenn Kelly and Bruce McDonald of Friends Of Carroll Park
Joan D'Amico and Dr, Mike Polanski of Court Street Merchants Association
State Senator Daniel Squadron
The Pledge Of Allegiance
Patrick Watson singing the 'Star Spangled Banner' And 'America The Beautiful'
Carroll Gardeners of all ages took part in the simple, but moving Veterans Day Ceremony in Carroll Park yesterday morning. Many of the neighborhood veterans had come out to lay a wreath at the foot of the park's war memorial to honor those who serve and sacrifice for this country.
The ceremony has become a yearly event thanks to  Court Street Merchants Association and  Friends Of Carroll Park.
Patrick Watson of Stinky's on Smith Street, who happens to also be a trained opera singer, sang a beautiful rendition of "America, The Beautiful" and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Special (and deserved) honor went to 92 year old Carroll Gardener and veteran Bob Burke, who fought in World War II. A few years ago, I wrote about  "the Lucky Irishman Of 4th Place".  You can read about him here and below is a little biography that was read at the ceremony.
WWII Veteran Bob Burke with Buddy Scotto
Bob Burke
John “Bob” Burke was born in 1921 in beautiful County Mayo, Ireland. He lived there in a picturesque thatch roof cottage until the age of 6 when his aunt Margaret, who had already immigrated to America, brought him to live with her as a member of her family on Fourth Place in what was then Red Hook. In fact, Bob has lived his whole “American” life on Fourth Place (now Carroll Gardens), except for the five years he served in the United States Military.

In 1941, when world conflict was escalating, Bob and several of his friends decided to join the National Guard. Initially, Bob was rejected because he was not yet an American citizen. Bob was not deterred because he considered America to be his homeland and he persevered until he was accepted. On December 7, 1941 Japan bombed Hawaii and America went to war. Bob transferred to the United States Army and was assigned to the newly formed 25th Infantry Division, known as “Tropic Lightning”. Bob fought in some of the most heated battles in the Pacific, including the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Mount Austen, the Solomon Islands Campaign, and in the Battle of Luzon in the Philippines. He also helped liberate a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines and was awarded The Bronze Star.
Upon his discharge in 1945, Staff Sergeant Burke was given assistance by the U.S. Army in becoming a Citizen of the United States of America.
Throughout the years, Bob has been an active volunteer of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church. He helped found the Dad’s Club, as well as coordinated Teen Dances, Parish Bazaars, and the parish’s football team. Nowadays you can find Bob very often sitting in his lounge chair on 4th Place wishing passerby’s a “Good Day”. If you’re passing by, stop and say hello. Bob will enjoy having a conversation with you!

And here is some information on the Carroll Park Memorial:
The Carroll Park Memorial honors the memories of the men of the 8th Assembly District who lost their lives in World War 1.  The bronze plaques on either side of the 18-foot granite stele were crafted by Brooklyn-born sculptor Eugene H. Monahan (1869- 1849).  The memorial was dedicated in 1921. In 1994,  it was renovated as part of an overall upgrade of Carroll Park.
Did you know that a time capsule was placed in the base of the memorial in 1921 and more was added to it in 1994?