Memorial Day Pasta Feed 2023

Memorial Day is a time when we come together as a community to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military. Middleburg American Legion Post 195 and Haymarket American Legion Post 1799 commemorated the day by organizing a special Pasta Feed as a show of solidarity to host this memorable event inviting veterans, their families, and community members to come together and pay tribute to those who have selflessly served our nation.

Adding to the significance of the occasion, the event featured decorated veteran and distinguished guest speaker, Henry “Rocky” Colavita, author of “Company Grade, Memoir of an Angry Skipper,” and Legionnaire of Post 1799 who shared his profound military experience with the audience.

Delectable pasta dishes filled the air with classic spaghetti and penne pasta, adorned by a table full of desserts that delighted the taste buds of the attendees. As those in attendance enjoyed their meal Rocky recounted stories from his memoir, highlighting the challenges and triumphs he faced as a military officer. Rocky began his story as a brand-new Lieutenant, where upon arriving at his first duty station as an eager young Officer, ready to work, he was told that he was of no use to the company as he had not yet attended Airborne or Infantry Officer training. He was just a “Leg” an insult to paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne, as that meant they were no use to those around them because they could not join the fight.

Upon successfully attending Airborne training, earning his “Jump Wings”, Infantry basic, and Ranger School, Rocky returned to the 82nd Airborne, finally earning a little respect amongst his troops. The 82nd was quick to welcome him, as he soon found out, and the troops played a practical joke on Rocky during one of his first scheduled jumps with the Unit. While waiting for the plane to fly into position, Rocky was called to the front of the plane for a message from the Captain. As Rocky held the receiver to his ear, the Soldiers in his Company howled with laughter as it was revealed that the ‘Radio’ was really a relief tube, used by those needing to use the bathroom while in flight.

Rocky soon found himself in Vietnam for the first time where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart. He returned for a second tour, this time as the Company Commander with D 2/8 Infantry. Rocky’s experience and leadership changed the way patrols were being conducted in Vietnam, resulting in a significant reduction in casualties. After Command, he was re-assigned to teach other Units lessons learned under Rocky’s Command, re-writing the Doctrine of how the U.S. Army conducted Patrols and Ambushes in Vietnam and Warfare in general. Upon returning home, at age 28, Rocky continued his military career, including a stint at The Pentagon and in Berlin, eventually retiring in 1983 and beginning his second career in law enforcement.

The event provided a moment for reflection and gratitude. Memorial Day is a time to honor the fallen and express appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy today. This occasion not only honored the fallen but also allowed community members to express their gratitude to our veterans. Through shared meals and captivating stories, the event showcased the power of unity and the importance of remembering those who have served our country.