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Love springs eternal in Bklyn - Couples renew wedding vows

It was perhaps the feel-good event of the year—an inspiring and heartwarming celebration of love and commitment. More than 400 “golden couples” filled the Grand Ballroom at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t get any more romantic than this: with each couple married 50 or more years, there was some 20,000 years of marital bliss in one room. As he does each year, Borough President Marty Markowitz and his wife Jamie Snow-Markowitz hosted the elegant reception. “You do Brooklyn proud,” Markowitz told the group as he proposed a toast to honor their devotion. “You’ve shown us that true love overcomes it all. You’ve set an example.” As couples filed into the ballroom on a red carpet, Marriott staff cheered and applauded their marital achievements. Many beaming “newlyweds” shouted out how many years they’d been married, eliciting applause and good wishes. Inside the throngs of sweethearts sipped champagne and reminisced with old and new friends. Many lovebirds also took to the dance floor as the Barry Bloom Dream Band belted out old standards and love songs. The ballroom was teeming with touching and personal stories of enduring love, and couples were eager to share their secrets for matrimonial bliss. “Besides love, you also need respect,” said Carmela Silver of Sheepshead Bay, who has been married to her husband Max for 50 years. “You also need to give your husband something to eat on time,” she added with a smile. The Silvers met at a dance at the Hotel Diplomat in Manhattan and tied the knot a year later. Louis and Helen Goldner of Coney Island have been husband and wife for an impressive 62 years. “I could do another 62, easy,” boasted Mr. Goldner. The couple says their love was “almost immediate” and still grows stronger each and every day. “He still holds the door for me and helps me with my coat,” Mrs. Goldner said, to which her husband responded, “And she’s a great cook.” But marriage isn’t just a fairytale romance, for sure. Every couple interviewed admitted they’ve had their ups and downs. The key, they said, was how they dealt with those rocky times. “We fight, but then we make up,” said Mary Chiappone of Dyker Heights, who met her husband Philip at a church dance. “We don’t keep grudges,” she said. Many of the couples endured time apart during World War II. Among them were retired Lt. Col. John Mulzac and his wife Beatrice. Lt Col. Mulzac is a member of the famed Tuskegee Airman, the first group of black airman to serve in the country’s military. He met his wife Beatrice when he was only a teenage cadet, training in Tuskegee, Alabama. The couple now resides in Bedford Stuyvesant. “I would fly low right over her house and do acrobatics, and I could see her waving,” Lt. Col. Mulzac said of his wife. “Her neighbors hated it.” The Mulzacs married after the war in 1946 and went on to have eight children. After fighting in World War II, Lt. Col. Mulzac later served in the Korean War and Vietnam War. He also served in the New York City Fire Department for 20 years. This year’s Valentine’s Day party is the fifth hosted by Marty Markowitz. As the event drew to a close, couples wished each other good health and vowed to see each other again in February of 2009.

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