Vets restore memorial to beloved Greenpoint war priest

Vets restore memorial to beloved Greenpoint war priest
Photo by Tom Callan

Nearly 70 Catholic war veterans from the Father Edward Giorgio Post on Lorimer Street honored the post’s namesake in a Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday that restored a plaque that thieves had stolen two years ago.

Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Williamsburg), who led a fundraising drive, was on hand to unveil the new memorial, this time made out of stone instead of the purloined copper.

“Father Giorgio dedicated his life for this community and for this country,” said Lentol. “What the [thieves] took was precious metal but they can’t take from us precious memories of Father Giorgio and others who fought for our country.”

Giorgio was the 36-year-old pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church when he headed to the European theater for World War II. He returned home, but died of his injuries in 1946.

For 50 years, a copper plaque with his visage was emblazoned on a memorial at the corner of Jackson and Lorimer streets — but vandals stole the plaque two years ago.

That, and the declining number of living veterans of World War II, made Thursday’s ceremony bittersweet.

And veterans of the War to End All Wars, of course, are no longer with us, but about a dozen World War II vets were at the ceremony.

“Veterans are a minority in our neighborhood and soon one day we’ll be no more — so we’re honoring our veterans on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” said post leader Paul D’Elia, referring to the moment of Armistice, when World War I ended.