The Eagle has landed

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:52

    GOSHEN-The monument that greets visitors to the Orange County Veterans' Cemetery is its "centerpiece," according to Robert Ibe, the President of the Orange County Veterans' Coalition. That centerpiece became more meaningful on Tuesday, Nov. 9, when a large bronze eagle atop the monument was unveiled. The eagle was donated by Leonard Rifkin, who made the donation after reading about the veterans' plea for an eagle to top the monument. The monument's designer, Orange County Legislator Bernard "Ben" Winstanley of Greenwood Lake, said he envisioned the marble monument being topped by an eagle, "but when we priced an eagle, it was far too expensive." The monument now looks as he envisioned it, Winstanley said. The 400-pound eagle on the monument was duplicated in a much smaller version, the "Lenny Rifkin Patriotic Award," which is to be presented each year. The first Rifkin award was presented to Stephen Nicoli, a veteran of the war in Iraq. Not only did Nicoli serve in Iraq, he has also raised money to help those still overseas since his return, Ibe said. More than 100 veterans, their families and supporters turned out for the dedication ceremony. The Goshen Fire Department supplied a truck with a bank of spotlights to illuminate the evening ceremony. The Veterans' Cemetery has recieved many other donations, Ibe said. For instance, shortly after the coalition let it be known that it wanted flags along its driveway, no fewer than six people called to offer flags and poles, he said. Beautification of the cemetery is the Coalition's major project, he added. For more stories on Veterans Day, please turn to