It was a great day for the whole community!

It was a great day for the whole community!

Yaphank firefighters decorate the Korean War monument

Yaphank firefighters decorate the new Korean War monument Jeff Davis unveils the American  Revolution monument

Jeff Davis unveils the American Revolution monument

Master of Ceremony Carl Verdi

Master of Ceremony Carl Verdi

Gerry Hynes unveils the Korean War Veterans monument

Gerry Hynes unveils the Korean War Veterans monument

Tommy Lyon introduced the five local fire departments and chiefs

Tommy Lyon introduced the five local fire departments and chiefs

The Chiefs re-dedicated the existing WWII monument

The Chiefs re-dedicated the existing WWII monument

Longwood Vietnam Veterans

Longwood Vietnam Veterans

Gordon Heights fifefighter salutes the Longwood Vietnam Veterans monument

Gordon Heights firefighter salutes the Longwood Vietnam Veterans monument

On June 19 nearly 500 members of the Longwood community and their neighbors gathered to celebrate the Monuments Dedication honoring Longwood’s World War II, Korean and Vietnam Veterans at Bartlett Pond Park on Middle Country Road in Middle Island. Five granite monuments were unveiled in a moving ceremony that concluded with an emotional medal presentation to local veterans.

The new stones, crafted by Fricke Memorials, contain the names of all who were local residents at the time of their service during the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, Korean War and Vietnam War. Members of area Fire Departments from Coram, Middle Island, Gordon Heights, Ridge and Yaphank were given the honor of laying the first wreaths at the new monuments. The existing WWII monument, installed on Memorial Day 2007, was decorated by the Chiefs of the five fire departments at the same time.

The Veterans Memorial Project began in 1998 when Longwood Social Studies Teacher Paul Infranco asked World War II Veteran James Eagle of Coram to speak to his students about his experiences at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Mr. Eagle passed away shortly after he gave the interview. Many of the students were saddened by his death and felt that something needed to be done to honor the men and women who fought for America’s right to remain free.

This led to a twelve-year odyssey to gather information to be published in journals containing the biographies of veterans from the Longwood area starting with the Revolutionary War to the veterans serving today. Mr. Infranco, his social studies department colleagues, and their students garnered relevant information from the National Archives, Suffolk County Historical Society, Longwood Public Library and the Brookhaven Town Historian’s Office.

Longwood students, families and teachers also raised the funds for the World War II monument. The five new monuments were made possible by the Caithness Community Development Fund, through the auspices of LIPA and the Town of Brookhaven.

The Longwood Alliance is coordinating a Buy-a-Brick program for future monuments honoring veterans of Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan. Information about the project and the rich history of the 53-square miles known as Longwood can be found at www.longwoodsjourney.com and at www.longwood.k12.ny.us/history/ or by calling Paul Infranco at 924-8839, Gail Bailey at 732-4529, or Tom Talbot at 924-5793.

School Superintendent Allan Gerstenlauer congratulates veteran

School Superintendent Allan Gerstenlauer congratulates veteran as BOE President Michael Loguercio looks on

Longwood Veteran receiving his recognition medal

Longwood Veteran receiving his recognition medal

Mr. Wittschack gets a long overdue handsake

Mr. Wittschack gets a long overdue handshake

The Medal Presentation was the most moving part of the ceremony

The Medal Presentation was the most moving part of the ceremony

Many public officials attended the memorable dedication

Many public officials attended the memorable dedication

TOB Supervisor Mark Lesko, Councilwoman Connie Kepert, MICA President Tom Talbot and Alliance President Gail Lynch-Bailey

TOB Supervisor Mark Lesko, Councilwoman Connie Kepert, MICA President Tom Talbot and Alliance President Gail Lynch-Bailey