Honoring veterans at Memorial Grove


As thousands of runners coursed through the city for the New York City Marathon, a small group gathered Nov. 3 at Van Cortlandt Park’s Memorial Grove to honor local veterans.

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel reaffirmed his commitment to advocate for veterans. Bronx borough historian Lloyd Ultan recounted the story of Julius Langbein, a Bronxite who served as a drummer boy in the Union Army during the Civil War and later received the Medal of Honor. U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Cmdr. Sergio Villaverde spoke about the importance of community for veterans.

The Memorial Grove ceremony began in 2007, thanks to the efforts of veterans Herb Barret and Donald Tannen, who endeavored to restore Memorial Grove, a small section of the park near West 246th Street and Broadway that was created in 1949. After Tannen passed away in 2014, Barret carried on the tradition.

The grove’s restoration in 2007 marked a new era for the space and a renewed attention for the local veterans who have served at home and abroad.

As the ceremony drew to a close, Barret read the names of the veterans enshrined in Memorial Grove, and helped roll up the American flag before bundling his scarf to guard against the crisp autumn air.