BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn —World War Two veteran Joseph Raia, 92, of Bath Beach was happy to be in the presence of other veterans at the Brooklyn War Memorial ceremony hosted by the Cadman Park Conservancy Sunday afternoon.
"Fifteen million were drafted for World War Two and I was one of them," Raia told PIX11. "And there are only half a million left."
"So they say thank you," Raia said. "You feel humbled but you figure, I'm not the only one who helped this country."
There was a flyover, a wreath laying, taps and speeches to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"We are the home of the free, the land of the brave," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told the crowd. "Americans will never be cowards. We are members of the greatest race and that's the human race."
Those who organized this ceremony are working hard to reopen this 5,000-square-foot memorial that has been closed since 1986.
Inside are the names of the more than 11,000 men and women from Brooklyn who died in World War Two.
But the memorial's in need of major repairs, including electrical and plumbing work, elevators and handicap accessibility.
A GoFundMe page has been set up.
"We have a vision of reopening it as a veterans center and an arts center," Toba Potosky of the Cadman Park Conservancy told PIX11, "with performances and educational programs."
Joseph Raia and other vets in attendance are hoping to see the inside of this memorial sometime soon.
"They're dying at a rate of 1,000 a day throughout the country," Raia said. "Glad you showed up now because next week, next year, I may not be around."