Following nearly two decades of continued conflict, veterans of recent wars will soon receive the recognition they have earned on those foreign battle-fronts back here on the home-front. Today, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts located in Setauket, Stony Brook and Port Jefferson, the Long Island State Veterans Home and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (District 5, Setauket) announced a partnership to update four existing local war memorials to commemorate the sacrifice made by the latest generations of America’s service members of the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and the Global War on Terror.
The partnership has established a Veterans Memorial Fund and is calling for donations to cover the cost of updating the memorials to include new plaques and monument stones to be inscribed with the names of Wars since the war in Vietnam. The partnership hopes to complete the updates in time for Memorial Day 2019. Organizers expect the updates to memorials located in Stony Brook Village, on the Setauket Village Green, at the Setauket Veterans Memorial Park and along the Port Jefferson harbor front to cost approximately $30,000 and be funded through donations made to the fund.
The project was suggested to Legislator Hahn by veteran Jack Gozdziewski, a member of American Legion Post 432 and VFW Post 3054. Legislator Hahn then met with Gozdziewski and local post commanders to tour all the memorials and began planning the project together.
“As we reflect on the service of all those who have sacrificed for the defense and security of our nation this Veterans’ Day, finally giving those who have served in support more recent wars the recognition they have earned is a small token of our community’s gratitude for their service,” said Legislator Hahn.
“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.”
“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.”
Bill Wolf, Commander, American Legion Wilson Ritch Post 432 in Port Jefferson said: "This project is in recognition to ALL veterans who served in all wars whether it was during Cold War or Boots on the Ground."
“The memorial is important lest we forget the sacrifices made and what we fought for,” said Tim Still, Commander, 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. In the meantime, the partnership is working on individual designs for each of the four memorials.