In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day, the nation's bravest will be honored in West Nyack.
A banner in the Palisades Center, inspired by the late Lt. Col. marine Michael L. Murphy of Blauvelt, pays homage to soldiers of the army, marines, air force, navy and coast guard.
The sprawling banner is emblazoned with an American flag and hangs in the mall's third floor atrium, adjacent to the Disney Store.
Lt. Col. Murphy's mother, Anne Murphy, set the concept in action with the help of fellow Blauvelt resident John Antonucci, the Palisades Center and Ben Roujansky, commander of Raymond DeMeol VFW Post 1615.
Murphy was killed Dec. 11, 2000 while test-piloting an MV22 Osprey Helicopter; three other marines were killed, as well.
Antonucci's wife, Nancy, recently spoke to the Orangetown Town Council about the banner. She said that Murphy pointed out to her husband that fewer and fewer people were attending the Memorial Day Service in Orangeburg.
"She said maybe we should do something to have people become more aware of the holiday," Nancy Antonucci said. "They came up with the idea of going to the managment of the Palisades Mall and asking if they were able to raise money for the banner, would management be willing to display it during the month of May. It took a long time negotiating, but they agreed.
"We were not charged to hang this. They gave us thousands of dollars in advertising space."
Banner sponsors include Nam Knights of America, Korean War Veterans, Rockland County Marine Corps League and several others. Antonucci said they took donations strictly from veterans groups and individual veterans.
In addition to allowing the banner to hang this year, the mall will store it and hang it every May going forward.
"Even if it is a teaching experience for one kid who walks throught that mall, it's worth it," Antonucci said. "There was a lot of cooperation with the Palisades Mall. I think it is a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives for our country."
There is also a smaller, portable banner that which will be brought to ceremonies around the area Memorial Day weekend.