Thank you Mr. Parente for allowing me to speak here today, for letting me sell my Stars for Cars decals, and most importantly for serving our nation.   I would like to take time to remember and thank our “Blue and Gold Star” Military Families.  The Military Families need to be recognized every day and not just on Memorial Day.  Our First Lady was on TV in January of 2011.  She told us that 1% of our nation is protecting the other 99% of our nation.  I call these brave servicemen and women our “One Percenters.” Our “One Percenters” protect the Four Freedoms not only for our nation but as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “everywhere in the world.”  Incredibly, these men and women guard and fight for our Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.  You give us the freedom to walk around knowing that we are not going to die because of an attack.  You give us the gift of peace between nations.   Our “One Percenters” need us to support them and their loved ones today and every day.  I want you to know that people do care about you, the United States of America’s Protectors.

What can people do to help our servicemen and women and their families?  By being here at this parade you are helping.  You are giving your time by standing here showing patriotism and respect.  In the winter, you could offer to shovel a driveway while someone’s wife or husband is serving.  You could even have coffee with someone who needs a friend.  You could offer to do some errands for a family too.  Even just thinking about the person or the family is helping, because God is always watching out for the person’s safe return.  Our “One Percenters” face many struggles each day:  financial, emotional, and physical.  Even if you are not a professional you can still help them.  Helping them reduces their stress level so they can go on and rebuild their lives.  As citizens of New Rochelle it is our duty to take action and help these exceptional families who sacrifice a family member for our freedom.

I wanted to help after I heard about Our “One Percenters.”  I heard about a 20 year old who gave his life in the service of our nation.  His name was Michael Arciola.  I founded Stars for Cars in his honor.  I even dedicated my website to him.  Michael Arciola was killed while serving in Iraq and I remember him today and every day. I pray for him and his family every night.  Thank you to the Arciola family.  Thank you to all of the families who have endured the loss of a loved one.  This is what Memorial Day is all about.   Thank you for your time today.

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