Belleville American Legion Post remembers Desert Storm after 30 years

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BELLEVILLE, NJ — American Legion Post 105 on Washington Avenue in Belleville held a ceremony and remembrance of the 30th anniversary of the end of Operation Desert Storm on Feb. 28. 

“We need to remember this shining moment in history, so that future generations know the meaning of the words courage, honor, sacrifice and just plain old doing the right thing,” Post 105 Second Vice Commander Scott Higgins said.

Operation Desert Storm, commonly known as the Gulf War, was in its operational combat phase from Jan. 17, 1991, to February 28, 1991. It was preceded by Operation Desert Shield for five months, during which a coalition of 34 nations conducted a troop buildup in the region in anticipation of the war.

The catalyst for the war was the Iraqi invasion and takeover of neighboring Kuwait, based off of Iraq President Saddam Hussein’s assertion that Kuwait should be re-absorbed into the Iraqi state. After negotiations which lasted the better part of a year, U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced in a televised address: “At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”

Post 105 Second Vice Commander Scott Higgins, himself a veteran of the Gulf War, organized a remembrance of the war and its killed-in-action servicemen. Higgins wrote and delivered a speech in front of an Operation Desert Storm commemorative flag, with stills of combat operations during the war playing on television behind him in the Post 105 hall. 

Following the event — which had approximately 50 members of the post, local veterans organizations and supporters of the American Legion in attendance — Sons of the American Legion member Vinny Ferriole and his wife, Lisa, generously catered the event, cooking up mounds of homemade pasta fagioli for attendees. Food was also donated by other members of the Post 105 family, and was capped off by Vinny Ferriole’s custom-made cake with tanks and army figures on it.

As one of the pillars of the American Legion is to foster Americanism and preserve the memory of those who have served, Post 105 remembers with pride the sacrifices of the Gulf War.