Yeadon, PA – A lone gunman fired off the three shots as taps was played in remembrance of those that gave their lives in military duty. For 69 years two stood tall and fired off those shots each year for Eleftheria VFW Post 6633, but now there is only one.
It is America’s Greek-American VFW post and it has begun to wean. “I’m done. I quit. I’ve had enough. This is my last year I will do this. We’re all in our 80’s now, and we can’t stand up any longer.” said, Veteran Chris Callas before firing those shots. Ten men stood for the photo op at the end of the event where once many stood, while others sat in lawn chairs and underneath a tree that shaded the family members that attended. This year many more families were present than soldiers as the numbers dwindle.
After Rev. Panagiotis Lekkas, of St. Demetrios Church of Upper Darby provided the memorial service and gave the blessing for the fallen veterans, some 358 veteran names were read off today during the 30 minute ceremony. In years past, the veterans would gather and march to the Greek section of Fernwood Cemetery in Yeadon and soda’s and Federal Street pretzels were shared at the conclusion each year. But alas, those traditions appear to be fading with the numbers of vets.
Vice Commander George Baxevanos shared the duties of reading off the names. “Who will continue to call out these names when we, the last, are gone?” He asked the crowd who stood in silence knowing that his question hit their hearts.
The crowd that came to support the men and women of the Eleftheria VFW Post, the only Greek-American veterans post, was also stunned by an announcement that some of the local Greek Orthodox churches, have begun turning away the Eleftheria VFW Post from performing a short memorial service in the Church, which has been done for almost seven decades. One attendee stated, “If it were not for these men standing here and their fellow soldiers who died in battle, our Church and what we believe in would cease to exist in our great country. Those who have turned us away should be more grateful.”
Cosmos Philly wishes to thank all veterans and those currently serving in America’s armed forces here and throughout the world, for their service and we ask that all our viewers and supporters never forget our veterans and service men and women, especially the Eleftheria VFW Post 6633.