NEW YORK, NY — Hudson Valley Honor Flight will honor World War II and Korean War veterans at its annual Lunch of Honor on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Anthony’ Pier 9 in Newburgh.
The organization will also honor The America the Beautiful Concert Team, featuring Jimmy Starr, for its many contributions to the organization.
Offering the luncheon’s keynote address is U.S. Marine Sgt. Rodney “Rocky” Sickmann, a former Iranian Hostage Crisis prisoner of war.
Sickmann is the author of “Iranian Hostage: A Personal Diary of 444 Days in Captivity.” On Nov. 4, 1979, after months of turmoil marked by the return of the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the American Embassy in Tehran was overrun by militants and its employees taken captive. Sickmann was one of 65 Americans held hostage for 444 days before being released on Jan. 21, 1981 following 14 months of diplomacy by President Jimmy Carter.
Three months later, Sickmann was honorably discharged after six years in the Marine Corps and received several accolades during his service, including: The Prisoner of War Medal, The Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Award of Valor, and Good Conduct Medal.
Sickmann’s diary is also the only known diary to have been smuggled out of Iran and published. The diary is no longer in publication.
Following the military, he began working in advertising for KMOX radio in St. Louis, Mo. and then entered the private sector for Anheuser-Busch InBev. He spent the next 34 years with the company, most recently as the U.S. national director for military and industry affairs, until his retirement in July 2016.
Sickmann helped coordinate the “Here’s to the Heroes Tour” which salutes the men and women of the armed forces, allowing Americans to show their support for the troops via recorded messages filmed on location at community events, celebrations, and festivals nationwide and shared with U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In August 2016, Sickmann joined the non-profit organization Folds of Honor. In this role, Sickmann helps advance Folds’ mission of providing educational scholarships to the children and spouses of those killed or disabled while serving the nation.
Tickets are $55 per person, $35 for active duty military and veterans and free for World War II veterans. At the door, ticket prices are an additional $10 each.
For tickets or additional information, call 845-458-1014 or email to: HVHF.Lunch.of.Honor@gmail.com.