The effort to update four existing war memorials located in Port Jefferson, Setauket and Stony Brook to commemorate the sacrifices made by the latest generations of America’s service members has been decisive thanks to the support of a grateful community. To date, $13,900 of the estimated $25,000 has been received by the Veterans Memorial Fund established through a partnership between the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts located in Setauket, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson Station, the Long Island State Veterans Home and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (District 5, Setauket). Now, with victory on the horizon, organizers are asking for a final push in donations to complete the mission of expanding these sites to honor those who served during the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and the Global War on Terror by this Memorial Day.
“Support for this effort has been incredible. In only a few months we have raised more than half of what is needed to make this lasting tribute to the sacrifices of our local heroes a reality,” said Legislator Hahn. “Our goal is to have work completed by Memorial Day, a day on which we pause to remember and reflect upon the lives of those who have given theirs in order for us to freely live ours. Raising the remaining $11,100 needed in the next few weeks will ensure the work will be complete in time for this solemn day.”
Among those who have already answered the call are Purple Heart sponsors Realty Three LLC/ Ridgeway Plaza LLC, and Bruce Acker. Ardolino Group Realty Connect USA, and Friends of Kara Hahn became Meritorious Service Medal Sponsors, while Burner Law Group. P.C. earned the Commendation Medal, and Moose Lodge #1379 of Port Jefferson, donated at the Recognition Ribbon level.
“Our community is very patriotic,” said Carlton “Hub” Edwards, Commander Post 1766 in Setauket. “I am certain the community will step up to help fund this Veterans Memorial Project to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and have yet to be fully acknowledged.”
Last fall, memorial coalition members joined together to ensure veterans of our Nation’s more recent wars would receive the recognition they have earned on those foreign battle-fronts back here on the home-front. The partnership, through its Veterans Memorial Fund, hopes to update the memorials to include new plaques and monument stones to be inscribed with the names of wars since Vietnam at memorials located in Stony Brook Village, on the Setauket Village Green, at the Setauket Veterans Memorial Park and along the Port Jefferson harbor front.
Photo: Veterans Memorial Fund coalition partners announce the launch of “Operation Remember” during a November 8, 2018 press conference held at one of four memorials to be updated.
Bill Wolf, Commander, American Legion Wilson Ritch Post 432 in Port Jefferson said: "This project is in recognition of ALL veterans who served in all wars."
“For those who served and gave so much, we Americans can only say ‘thank you,’” said Jack Gozdziewski, Member of American Legion Post 432 and VFW Post 3054. “Through our local veterans memorials our communities show our love of country and respect to those who gave all. America’s freedom can never be taken for granted, veterans can never be forgotten.”
“The memorial is important lest we forget the sacrifices made and what we fought for,” said Tim Still, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3054 in East Setauket.
Checks should be made payable and mailed to Veterans Memorial Fund, PO Box 986, Port Jefferson Station, NY, 11776 or can be hand delivered to the following service post locations:
Wilson Ritch Post 432
1450 Hallock Avenue
Port Jefferson Station, New York 11776
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3054
8 Jones Street
East Setauket, New York 11733
Once the fundraising goal has been met, organizers will contract with a local stonemason to update the monuments with individual designs for each of the four memorials. “Installation cannot take place until our fundraising is complete, and the monuments are paid for in full. We’d like to meet our fundraising goals soon, with the hopes of having the monuments installed and completed for Memorial Day,” said Hahn.
For more information about “Operation Remember” and sponsorship opportunities still available, please visit http://americanlegionwilsonritchpost432.org/index.php?id=101.