New York Mills Honors Local Pearl Harbor Veterans

New York Mills Honors Local Pearl Harbor Veterans

On Veterans Day we honor and recognize all veterans who have served and protected this country but the Village of New York Mills honored a special group of veterans in particular. Over a dozen men from New York Mills fought at Pearl Harbor.
On Veterans Day we honor and recognize all veterans who have served and protected this country but the Village of New York Mills honored a special group of veterans in particular. Over a dozen men from New York Mills fought at Pearl Harbor. The community honored these brave soldiers with a brand new monument on Monday.
Veterans Park in New York Mills was packed Monday afternoon with community members waiting to see the new monument. Fourteen New York Mills natives served in Pearl Harbor, for such a small village that makes the percentage higher than in New York City. Of those 14, 13 made it back and only one is still alive today.
"I wish they could all be here, it would be a real tribute to everyone," said Stanley Kozien.
Kozien was just 19 years old when he was aboard the U.S.S. St. Louis. He is the last Pearl Harbor survivor from New York Mills. He says he remembers December 7, 1941 like it was yesterday.
"And the alarm went off, and I looked at all the other guys in amazement and said 'you gotta be kidding me, the U.S. Navy is gonna hold a drill on a Sunday morning, our day of rest,’ and the wardens came over, ‘all men man your battle stations, this is not a drill, I repeat this is not a drill."
Kozien along with 12 others returned home to New York Mills but one, Edward Bator, did not which is why the village named the Pearl Harbor memorial after him.
"On the U.S.S. Arizona and he was the only one that got killed on December 7th '41 he still rests there to this day as it shows right there."
Stash Babiarz coordinated the memorial project that has been in the works for six years. The Korean War vet says he is beyond proud of the men from his patriotic village.
"There were 14 people, from a village of 35 hundred, at Pearl Harbor, New York City, 7 million, didn't have 14 people at pearl harbor in 1941."
One of the 14 was Harry Hale whose wife stood proudly in the crowd Monday at the ceremony.
"Oh, he would be so proud, his name is over there, it's the second one on the list, and he would've been very happy," said the veteran’s wife Elizabeth Hale.
The monument weighs 12,000 pounds and costs about 40,000 dollars. It’s being funded through grant money.

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