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National Guardsman Called 'Greatest Of Our Generation' At Kensico Ceremony

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino joined members of Tech Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm's surviving family on Monday during a procession and Kensico Dam Mamorial Walkway dedication ceremony in Valhalla. Photo Credit: Provided
Tech. Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm of West Harrison, one of six U.S. military servicemen killed in December 2015 by a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan. Lemm was a National Guard member from the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air Base. Photo Credit: Division of Military & Naval Affairs

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino called Tech Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm, the fallen military veteran from West Harrison, "the greatest of our generation'' during a memorial ceremony Tuesday at Kensico Dam Plaza.

On the 72nd anniversary of the D Day Allied Invasion at Normandy, Astorino joined Lemm's family and nearly 100 other guests to dedicate a plaque in his honor at the Kensico Dam Memorial Walkway.

Lemm, 45, of the New Air National Guard and a former detective with the New York Police Department in the Bronx, was killed in action by a suicide bomber on Dec. 21, 2015 in Bagram, Afghanistan.

Monday's ceremony began with a procession led by the Pipes and Drums of the Westchester Police Emerald Society, followed by remarks from Astorino and Ronald Tocci, director of the Westchester Veterans Service Agency.

"Often we wonder if the best of America is past us, if today’s Americans are no longer capable of the guts and greatness that marked previous generations," Astorino said. "In Staff Sergeant Joseph Lemm we find an answer. Yes. Not only was Joseph Lemm a throwback to the greatest generation, he was the greatest of our generation today.”

Astorino then escorted Lemm’s family including his widow, Christine, and their children, Brooke and Ryan, to place a wreath at the plaque under a tree on the Memorial Walkway. A Rifle Salute was then followed by Taps.

During his State of the County Address in April, Astorino awarded Lemm with Westchester County’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.

Lemm was serving his third overseas tour when the suicide bomber attacked his convoy. He enlisted in the 105th Airlift Wing based at Stewart Air Base in Orange County in 2008, serving as a security force member. He previously served in the military from 1988 to 1996. His prior deployment experience included missions to Afghanistan from January to June 2013 and to Iraq from June to December 2011. 

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