SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — A World War II veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor is on a mission to honor mothers who lost a son or daughter in service to our country.
As he approaches his 100th birthday, Armando "Chick" Galella is helping The Historical Society Inc. of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown raise $70,000 for a memorial to Gold Star Mothers.
"This is my last hoorah," Galella, who will celebrate his milestone birthday on Jan. 1, tells WCBS 880's Sean Adams. "My Gold Star Mothers is gonna happen."
The life-size bronze statue will be sculpted by decorated Vietnam War Veteran Andrew Chernak and be placed at Horan's Landing in Sleepy Hollow.
The park is named in memory of Galella's childhood friend, John Horan, who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"He will always be remembered by me as long as I live. That's why I have a park named after him right on the river, and that's where the statue is going to be," Galella said.
When Galella returned home from the war, he visited Horan's mother — a moment that he will never forget.
"I said to her, 'Mrs. Horan, I know it's hard for me to tell you, but your son died a hero and for his country.' He did the best he could, but the odds were all against us. He tried to get down to the hangar to get the airplanes in the air, but the hangars were blown up," Galella said. "We held each other, and we cried together and I tried to console her."
The statue will not only honor Mrs. Horan.
"It's for all mothers," Galella said. "This is for all mothers who gave their sons and daughters to the service and paid the supreme sacrifice."
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