07/25/12 12:06pm
07/25/2012 12:06 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Johnathan and Cathrine Schmanski enter Brecknock Hall in Greenport moments after their wedding ceremony last Veteran’s Day.

After the outpouring of local support for Brecknock Hall’s wedding giveaway to two local soldiers last year, Peconic Landing, the event’s organizer, has decided to do it again.

Active duty Army soldiers Cathrine and John Schmanski of Riverhead, who had been stationed in Afghanistan, were married last Veterans Day at Brecknock Hall, a restored 19th-century manor house in Greenport, in a ceremony donated by the Peconic Landing lifecare community, which owns the building, with support from two dozen local merchants.

Now stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia, the couple are expecting their first child. They fell in love while stationed at a military base in Germany in 2009 and were officially married by a justice of the peace in Arizona in 2010. But they didn’t have a wedding ceremony until the Brecknock Hall event.

This week, the search began for the 2012 Brecknock Veterans Day wedding couple.

“It’s powerful to see individuals and businesses join together to honor those who serve our country in such a meaningful way,” said Peconic Landing president and CEO Robert Syron. He added that last year’s wedding was a testament to a community that unites for a good cause.

“We’re embarking on this year’s journey to Nov. 11 with an incredible sense of gratitude,” he said. “Giving back is a priority at Peconic Landing and this effort is particularly meaningful since many of our residents are veterans.”

This year’s winners will receive catering, entertainment, flowers, photography and numerous other wedding day donations from 20 local sponsors.

Couples must submit their stories to info@brecknockhall.com by Monday, Aug. 5. They’re asked to include details about their ties to the East End, Suffolk County, Long Island or New York State and whether one or both serves or served in the military.

Peconic Landing would also like to know whether they’re on active duty or have recently returned from a combat zone, the number of tours of duty they’ve completed and any special circumstances or honors they’ve received.

byoung@timesreview.com

05/28/12 2:16pm
05/28/2012 2:16 PM

JOHN NEELY PHOTO | Members of the New York 88th Volunteers Civil War re-enactors marched in this year's parade.

Riverhead honored its fallen soldiers Monday morning in a parade from Pulaski Street School to downtown and back, stopping at St. John’s R.C. Church, at the Riverhead Cemetery and at St. Isidore’s Cemetery.

Veterans from recent wars back to World War II joined scout troops, the Riverhead High School marching band and NJROTC, Civil War re-enactors and World War I-era vehicles in the parade, which concluded in a ceremony at the World War II memorial in front of Pulaski Street School.

Town Supervisor Sean Walter gave the keynote address. Mr. Walter said he considered his speech a history lesson for young folks and quoted John Adams and the Declaration of Independence in his remarks.

“Our rights come from God above,” he said. “We will always be the greatest country in the world.”

Mr. Walter asked attendees to remember Van T. Barfoot, a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient whose homeowners association in Virginia had balked at letting him fly an American flag from a  20-foot tall flagpole in front of his house.

Mr. Barfoot had served in Italy during the war, where, as a Sergeant in Carano in 1944, he made his way through a minefield, taking out three enemy positions, then captured 17 POWs and destroyed tanks that were sent to re-take the enemy positions.

After national media attention, the homeowners association agreed to let him keep his flag.

Mr. Walter urged Riverhead residents to take Mr. Barfoot’s lead and “stand up and do something.”

Sister Linda Joseph, principal of St. Isadore’s School, gave the invocation at the ceremony.

She urged attendees to join in sacred remembrance of those who were lost in the country’s battles, and to work for peace, justice, and hope for the world.

She urged attendees to avoid the “overbearing pride of false and narrow patriotism” and to be more compassionate and giving in their daily lives.

“Let peace come in one thousand tongues,” she said.

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