TONH Rededicates Restored Memorial Park in Memorial Day Tribute to Nation’s Fallen Soldiers
For Immediate Release Media Contact: Collin Nash and Sid Nathan
June 9, 2010 (516) 869-7794
North Hempstead, NY--As is the tradition, the North Hempstead Town Board joined residents and local veteran’s organizations throughout the Town on Memorial Day to honor our fallen soldiers and thank their kin for giving up their sons and daughters to defend the cause Americans hold so dear.
This year, as in the past, the Supervisor and his party paid their respects to our Armed Forces dead at a number of North Hempstead ceremonies, including Great Neck, Albertson, Mineola and Manhasset.
The rededication of a memorial for dead WWII soldiers and sailors from Floral Park Centre, an unincorporated area of 340 households wedged between Floral Park and the Village of New Hyde Park, highlighted the Memorial Day tributes.
“What better way to honor those from this community who paid for our freedom with their lives than by rescuing this historical memorial from the ravages of time by restoring and rededicating it to the people of this great community,” Supervisor Kaiman said.
The Floral Park Centre Memorial Park was created early in 1945 on a triangle of land 128 feet long by 48 feet wide at McKee Street and Willis Avenue. The parcel was donated by Mr. and Mrs. William Bell, who lived in a house behind the monument.
Soon after the park was created, an honor roll bearing the names of 55 men and women from the community serving in the armed forces was erected. William Murphy Jr. then president of the Floral Park civic Association, was instrumental in putting up the honor roll. Eyeing a permanent monument with a bronze plaque bearing the names of eight young men and women from the community who died in WWII, he ultimately obtained an artillery piece which was used during the Italian Campaign. After convincing the US government to transport a stone monument from the island of Corregidor in the Philippines to the West Coast, he paid the freight to transport the huge bolder to Long Island.
With contributions he raised from the community by selling pictures of the honor roll, Murphy had the cannon placed in the park and a bronze plaque mounted in the stone. The plaque and Memorial Park were dedicated Nov. 10th 1946.
Time took its toll and the plaque became heavily tarnished. The artillery piece sunk into the dirt.
Jane Cubilette came to the rescue.
Among other things, restoration of the Memorial Park topped a list of projects she planned to seek funding for in an upcoming meeting with Supervisor Kaiman.
The Supervisor was only too happy to do what he could to help refurbish the Park and memorial, she said.
Councilwoman Lee Seeman, whose district includes Floral Park Centre, was also instrumental in acquiring funding to spruce up the Park and monument. Restoring the Park was a no-brainer for Seeman, who, as a member of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, has coordinated the restoration of a number of memorials and cemeteries in Eastern and Central Europe.
Thomas Tiernan, commissioner of North Hempstead’s Department of Highways supervised the restoration project. The cannon were removed, sandblasted and painted olive green before being placed on a concrete foundation to prevent it from sinking into the ground, he said. The bronze plaque was polished and plantings were put in around the stone in which it was embedded. The sidewalk around the Park was also repaired during the week-long undertaking.
By all accounts, the Memorial Day rededication ceremony was a very touching, heartwarming event.
“I pictured the mothers of the eight soldiers named on the plaque standing next to the monument in 1946 as planes roared overhead,” said Seeman, who called out the names on the plaque during the re-dedication ceremony. “It was one of the most rewarding projects during my career as a Councilwoman.”
Cubilette, a volunteer firefighter, along with colleagues and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, joined in the rededication ceremony.
“I was just feeling proud to be an American, proud to be a member of my community and proud to be able to play a role in making Floral Park Centre a better place to live.”
Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Councilwoman Lee Seeman, Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman, and Town Clerk Leslie Gross joined with local veteran’s organizations and volunteer firefighters to rededicate WWII Monument.