The early rain on Sunday, July 18, and the threat of cancelation may have discouraged some people from coming to the event but at 11 a.m. and right on time the sun shone for the second annual “Back the Blue” ceremony held at Veterans Memorial Park.
The purpose of the ceremony was to show appreciation for law enforcement officers who risk their lives to serve their communities every day and, most recently, an extraordinary lack of the support they deserve.
Organizers of this year’s event included retired NYPD Detective Angel Maysonet, who served as emcee, along with VFW Post 4662 Commander Jose Morales Sr., Vice Commander Carmine Garritano and Chaplain Donald Grenier, who conducted the opening ceremony. Among other organizers and contributors were members of the Orange County Chapter of New York Shields, local retired law enforcement officers, the Warwick Volunteer Fire Department and many others.
Early arrivals included members of three Orange and Sullivan County motor cycle clubs: The Knights Order, Bleeding Hearts and Fidelium, all affiliated with the national Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club (LEMC).
Guest speakers were State Senator Mike Martucci, Assemblyman Karl Brabenec and Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus.
VFW Post Commander Morales thanked everyone and reported that he not only served in the military but was also a 20-year veteran of the New York City Police Department.
Neuhaus, the county executive addressed the anti-police movements: “It’s not the police officers that need to change, it’s us.”
Martucci pointed out that the police officers are the ones who show up when we run away.
Brabenac, whose father was an NYPD officer and whose mother served the department as a dispatcher, said, “What we see in Albany and Washington, D.C., is disgraceful.”
He was especially critical of New York’s Bail Reform law, where arrested criminal are released and often repeat similar crimes while out on bail.
Maysonet, a Warwick resident and a frequent contributor on Fox News, described some of his experiences including investigating and thwarting a terrorist bomb attack on three crowded subway trains, mentioned that there were 60 police officers killed in the line of duty this year. He suggested that it’s time for the silent majority to speak up: “It’s a battle of good vs. evil.”