Today’s news:

Vallone honored, opens Fleet Week on Intrepid

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) received the Fisher Patriotism Award aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid where he praised the historic fighting ship, not as a symbol of war, but of peace — “of what men and women would do ... to preserve our rights.”

In a ceremony opening Fleet Week, he said members of the Armed Forces and other great Americans have made bold sacrifices over the past two centuries to preserve the principle cited by the nation’s founding fathers: “that our rights don’t come from any human being .... Our rights come from a higher authority.”

Vallone, a Democratic candidate for mayor, was presented with the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Award for Patriotism in recognition of more than 25 years of public service.

Also honored with him was Richard J. Sheirer, director of the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and a former resident of Forest Hills, who received the Intrepid Leadership Award.

Sheirer was cited for his 28 years with the New York City Fire Department, many of them as a fire dispatcher in Woodhaven, and his service as a deputy commissioner and chief of staff of the Police Department before taking on his present post last year.

Kenneth Fisher, a trustee of the Intrepid Foundation, said Vallone’s patriotism award was presented in recognition of “individuals who give of themselves for the betterment of our nation.” He especially cited Vallone’s interest “in our schools and our children.”

Fisher noted that more than 200 sailors and Marines were killed in action aboard Intrepid during World War II and added “it is appropriate that we recognize patriotism on these decks.”

Vallone called attention to the late Zachary Fisher’s efforts to save the Intrepid from the scrap heap and establish the ship as a Sea-Air-Space Museum in 1980.

He said Fisher in one sense “gave his life, his fortune, his dedication ... that somehow this ‘great lady’ (Intrepid) would be seen as a symbol ... of what men and women of like mind would do to preserve our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, our belief that there is a higher authority that in the end would judge us all.”

Sheirer cited the men and women of the city’s police, fire and other safety agencies and said it was they “who make our quality of life and safety in this great city what it is today.” He received the Intrepid Foundation’s “Fighting I'' plaque award.

Vallone was presented with an original “tie down'” (cleat) from the Intrepid that had been used to secure planes by cables to the flight deck. The “tie down'' was mounted on wood from the ship’s deck.

Zachary Fisher, a developer and philanthropist, founded the museum and more than 20 Fisher Houses at or near bases around the country so families could be close to servicemen who may have been hospitalized away from home.

The Intrepid saw service in World War II and the Vietnam War and was a NASA recovery vessel for Mercury and Gemini space missions.

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