Rockaway Irish Honor Veterans

Flip Cullen, center, marches with injured soldiers in the parade.

Declan O'Kelly, Contibutor
October / November 2005

Irish-American families in Rockaway, New York, played host to injured soldiers recently with a parade and street party organized by the community.”We had to turn families down the support was so strong,” said Flip Cullen, who organized the the visit of 28 wounded soldiers from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to the Rockaway area., During their visit, the soldiers took in the local attractions, water skied and visited the New York Stock Exchange, an event that saw the entire floor stop trading, turn and applaud the soldiers in the viewing gallery.

The highlight of the weekend for many was the parade, which attracted a huge local turnout and had a profound effect on the visiting soldiers.

‘The parade has been exhilarating, it makes me feel proud to be a soldier and proud of the sacrifice I made,” said Chris Bain, a third-generation soldier who almost lost his arm in a mortar attack at alTaji on April 8.

Chris stayed with the Moriarty family and had nothing but praise for the hospitality of the Rockaway locals, “Everybody has treated us amazingly, they have been like moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers,” he said ♦

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