A surprising announcement was made at the ceremony following the Hicksville Memorial Day Parade. Catholic War Veterans Joseph Barry Post #1946 commander and ceremony emcee Joseph Messana told the assembled in the Hicksville Middle School auditorium that the post would be disbanding. The threat of rain had forced the ceremony indoors, from its customary place at the Veterans Memorial Park within the school grounds.
“It was not an easy decision,” Messana told the Hicksville News, noting that it came after a vote of the members. But the post, in line with many social organizations, was the victim of an aging and declining membership.
Messana was one of the 35 charter members when the post was formed in March 2006, and led it for the past nine years. As a result of deaths and attrition, #1946 had less than 20 vets on its rolls at the end. Messana said that many will join area Catholic War Veterans posts that are still active.
Messana said his post made contributions annually to the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook and to one of the area “Stand Downs” events providing supplies and services to homeless veterans.
Messana, a Vietnam War vet who served with the Army in that conflict in 1968-69, joined the Hicksville VFW Post in 1971 and was part of the Memorial Day Committee of the United Veterans’ Organization of Hicksville, which annually plans the parade. Post #1946 was the host of the May 30 procession.
“We honored our commitment and fulfilled our obligation as a veterans organization to coordinate and run the parade before disbanding,” Messana summed up. “We did our duty for Memorial Day.”