A crowd that included a 101-year-old hospital volunteer and a 15-year-old Life Scout gathered at the entrance of North Shore University Hospital Monday morning facing American flags that temporarily greet visitors.
“We’re here to remember and honor and thank our veterans, those who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those still with us in our communities,” said Lori Ballen, president of the hospital’s Auxiliary, at the short Veterans Day ceremony.
It was the first year flags had been placed outside the hospital to honor the nation’s veterans, and there were 100 of them.
The effort was a fundraiser through the hospital’s Auxiliary – the flags were $20 each and included the option of adding a name for personalization. The money supports the renovation of the neonatal intensive care unit.
Arthur Seidman, 101, was among those who made remarks, reflecting on veterans’ contributions to the country.
He earned a Purple Heart for his service in World War II and is now completing his 23rd year of volunteer work with Northwell.
He volunteers in both the surgical waiting room at North Shore University Hospital and with chemotherapy patients at the Monter Cancer Center in North New Hyde Park.
Volunteering with chemotherapy patients is particularly special to him, he said.
“They want to talk to somebody, and I tell them some of the war stories,” Seidman said. “My memory for that time is so vivid.”
Daniel Cataldo, a sophomore at Manhasset High School and a Life Scout working toward his Eagle Scout title, played taps on the bugle at Monday’s ceremony.
As his troop’s bugler, Cataldo was much in demand at Veterans Day events around town that morning.
“It feels good giving back to the community, honoring veterans, honoring the flag itself,” Cataldo said.
Ballen created the Veterans Day display and fundraiser because she had seen similar efforts at other hospitals, she said.
The project contributes to a $2 million fundraising goal the Auxiliary has for the neonatal intensive care unit.
Ballen told the crowd how happy visitors have been to see the display of flags.
She said that the day she was planting the flags, three men came up to her and asked to take a photo with them.
“One of them had just become a citizen, and he was so proud,” Ballen said.