Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Northampton Commons renamed for Dembowski

Park renamed to honor a fallen son.
By Peter Ciferri, Advance Editor

"For future generations, whenever Richboro and Northampton Township residents visit Northampton Commons Park, they will remember Robert Dembowski Jr.That's because this Memorial Day, one year and two days after his death in Baghdad, Iraq, the Northampton Board of Supervisors, area veterans groups, local politicians and community members came together to rededicate the park in honor of their fallen son.
"Northampton Township is home to many veterans and military personnel, who deserve recognition for their service," Northampton Township Board of Supervisors Chairman George Komelasky said. "The rededication of this park is one way that we can all say thank you."
He explained that the Northampton Commons was originally dedicated in early 2001 to volunteers in the Northampton community, who donate their time in a number of roles from firemen to township committee members.
Komelasky went on to explain that in a post 9-11 world, he is happy to rededicate the park to honor all those who protect our nation. "These are our fathers, our brothers, our sisters, our husbands, our wives our sons, our daughters. They are our friends of our community and they call Northampton Township home."
The park was officially rededicated before a crowd of about 150 supporters during an afternoon ceremony on May 26.
Fran Dembowski, mother of Robert Dembowski Jr., was among the afternoon's first speakers. She reflected on the sacrifice American servicemen and women through the reading of a poem she recently penned while visiting Fort Bragg.
Dembowski's father, Robert Dembowski Sr., unveiled the sign officially renaming the Northampton Commons "Robert H. Dembowski Jr. Veterans Memorial Park."
Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8) spoke on the lasting impact Robert Dembowski has left both in the community and with his comrades in the Army.
"Committed to serving his country, Bobby volunteered to make the rest of the world a better place and give back to the country he loved so fiercely," Murphy said.
Dembowski was killed in action on May 24, 2007, when his unit came under small arms fire from enemy forces in Baghdad. Murphy said that while the park is named in Dembowski's memory, it serves to reflect on all those lost in battle.
"By remembering their sacrifices and the lives that they led, in time the wounds of Bucks County will heal," Murphy said. "It will be in Bobby's name, but it will stand for veterans as a sign of our appreciation."
While the two never served together, both Murphy and Dembowski were members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.
"Today is a solemn day, but a proud one as we honor a hero from our community, and the spirit of patriotism and devotion that Bobby embodied," Murphy said.
State Rep. Scott Petri said it was a "true pleasure" to spend his Memorial Day honoring Bucks County soldiers who stepped forward to serve their nation.
"Memorial Day is not simply a day for picnics and pool openings, parades and speeches, it is a day to reflect on the lives of those who made those things possible for the rest of us through their sacrifice in defense of freedom," Petri explained.
He said Dembowski understood that idea and cited a 2005 speech that the Army Private gave at Newtown's Chancellor Center.
Dembowski, a Council Rock North and Middle Bucks Institute of Technology graduate, joined the Army in 2006 and was the recipient of a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Also speaking was the director of Bucks County Veterans Affairs Dan Fraley and the chairman of the Northampton Township Veterans Advisory Committee Larry Rubini.
Fraley spoke on the important role Gold Star Families have in helping to secure land for veterans memorials and cemeteries, including the Dolington National Veterans Cemetery in Upper Makefield."

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