Robert Palmer was born in Brewster, New York in May 1921. He served in the United States Army from August 1942 to December 1945, achieving the rank of Platoon Sergeant, commanding a sixteen-man gun section. During his service, Robert Palmer earned the American Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. Following his World War II service he joined the Railroad, and eventually retired after 41 years with Conrail. A Life Member Of Brewster VFW Post 672, he served for 20 years as Chaplain of the Post.
For 30 years, leading up to each Memorial Day Commemoration, Bob categorized and placed over 1200 hundred flags on the graves of Veterans buried within the town of Southeast – mostly by himself.
In 2012, at the age of 91, Bob decided it was time to have others take over the annual project. To acknowledge his years of work, the “Bob Palmer Project” was begun- not to duplicate his singular effort-but to follow Bob’s intent.
Jack Duncan , a veteran and retired Master Sergeant, was named “Chairmen-Bob Palmer Project”, and with a great team effort our community now places the 1200(+) flags before each Memorial Day, to not only honor and remember our veterans, but to honor Bob Palmer and his commitment to our community and veteran’s.
Typical, the Bob Palmer Project is scheduled for the last Saturday in April, and nicknamed “Bob Palmer Day” to kick off the month’s work leading up to Memorial Day services.
Brewster VFW - Bob Palmer Project Link with listing of Veterans buried in the Brewster/Southeast Area
The Brewster Elks Lodge 2101 held its annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony this evening at its Lodge on Rt 22. The event was attended by approximately 75 members of the public along with Lodge members along and local and County officials.
Exhalted Ruler Dom Dimezza opened the ceremony and after the Lodge Chaplain said a short prayer and the singing of the National Anthem the attendees settled in to listen to a rendition of Amazing Grace expertly performed on the bagpipes by State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and to hear Past Exhalted Ruler Christine Autorino describe that fateful day. As a NYC worker stationed just 3 blocks from WTC she had a harrowing first hand account of the events, from at first exiting he building and being told it was safe to return to just a few hours later being huddled into the building basement with approximately 200 other City workers before being told to go home at 2 p.m. She recounted how earlier in the morning she and her coworkers watched as the ash and debris debris from the towers destruction floated about like a light snows to how at 2 pm it was much heavy as they attempted to leave the area on one of the last subway trains to leave Manhattan that day. She pointed out how as she made her way from 215th street in the Bronx to her apartment and it wasn’t until she arrived home that she realized the amount of ash that had accumulated on her clothing. She described returning to work a few days later to a foul stench in the air that lasted almost 6 months while clean up of the area continued and they were assured the air was safe only to learn years later that rescue workers were becoming ill from it. She recounted the heroics of the 343 NYC firemen who perished that day along with 49 Port Authority and 23 NYPD Officers who were also lost and how thankful she is to be an american and watching the country come together that day.
The Putnam County Marine Corp League Detachment headed by Jack Duncan, who was a trained rescue worker and Con Edison employee who also recounted how he responded to the scene that day and lost friends as well, presented a 21 gun salute after the candle lighting ceremony in which attendees laid flowers on the Lodges 9/11 Remembrance stone which has been the tradition since it was laid in place in 2008. After the Lodge Chaplain closed the ceremony the attendees were invited into the lodge for refreshments and to reflect with others and remember those lost but never forgotten.