EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 22, 2012

Hundreds attend dedication event

LAWRENCE — A table will always be permanently set at Sal’s Riverwalk for American soldiers who were captured or went missing at war.

Some 350 people attended an afternoon event yesterday at Salvatore’s restaurant where a permanent place of honor was dedicated to the 92,000 prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Salvatore’s is believed to be the first restaurant in Massachusetts to dedicate a table in honor of POW/MIA issues.

“We don’t want to leave anyone behind,” said Dennis Moschella, a Vietnam War veteran who leads Veterans Assisting Veterans, a group formed to remember POW/MIA issues and help veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Moschella, of Saugus, said he visited Sal’s earlier this year and suggested the front entrance would be a great place for a POW/MIA remembrance table. Veterans event organizer customarily leave an empty seat at a set table in remembrance of missing soldiers. Sal’s owner Sal Lupoli immediately embraced the idea, Moschella said.

“It was spectacular,” Moschella said.

The table itself sat on display, protected by black velvet ropes, in a function room yesterday. “You are not forgotten,” the inscription atop the table reads in part. Mike Fortier of the The Discovery Communications Group is responsible for the remembrance table’s unique design, Moschella said.

The event was sponsored by Lupoli, Salvatore’s Restaurant, Veterans Assisting Veterans and Rolling Thunder, a charitable group committed to POW/MIA of all wars.

Many Rolling Thunder members are also motorcycle enthusiasts.

Dozens of bikes lined the Riverwalk parking lot yesterday.

The event also drew an visit from an old friend, Francisco Urena, Lawrence’s former veteran’s services director. Urena is now the Commissioner of Veteran’s Services for the City of Boston.

Pizza, salad, and pasta were all served buffet salad. All proceeds from the event were donated to veterans causes.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.

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