From left, Mount Vernon Village Administrator Michael Meyers, Robert Foster, Merritt Ambrose, Frank DiCristina Jr. and Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DiSimon pose in the memorial garden.

Three World War II veterans residing at Mount Vernon Village retirement community were honored with a surprise ceremony in recognition of Patriot Day, Sept. 11.

“For our first Patriot Day ceremony, I thought there was no better way to celebrate than to honor our guys,” said Michael Meyers, the community’s administrator.

Merritt Ambrose, Frank DiCristina Jr. and Robert Foster were honored with a plaque dedicating the community’s Memorial Flag Garden at the entrance.

Frank DiCristina III said he was “surprised and honored” when he heard the news, and he, along with wife, Brenda, and sister, Elaine Waidelich, were on hand when Frank DiChristina Jr. received the recognition.

DiCristina Jr. said he surprised, as well. Residents at the community were told it was a Patriot Day service, but were not told about the plaque dedication in advance. DiCristina Jr. was decked out in patriotic clothes and had a radio on his walker blasting patriotic music.

The former infrantry commander said he always makes sure there’s a flag in good shape flying at the community’s entrance, and he buys a new one when needed.

Resident JoAnn Meaders said she appreciated the ceremony because her husband, Conrad, served in the Navy during World War II. “I think it’s nice that [Meyers] has organized and planned this because it has never been done here before,” she said. “It reminds me of my husband.”

Sandy Springs Police Chief Ken DeSimone was also on hand. “As the son of a World War II vet, I appreciate your service,” he told the honorees.

“I congratulate you for commemorating this important day,” said Brookhaven City Councilwoman Rebecca Chase Williams, who attended because her mother, a nurse in the Army during World War II, is a new resident of the community. “I’m particularly today proud of my mother,” she said.

Ann Marie Quill

Ann Marie Quill is Associate Editor at Reporter Newspapers.