Longwood Life October 2010
Longwood Veterans Forgotten No More
Special thanks to Frank Bailey for his many photos of the
Monument Dedication Ceremony
It was a glorious celebration…a moment in time filled with joy and
sorrow, patriotism and camaraderie, peace and pride, as five new war
monuments were dedicated to honor more than 500 Longwood veterans
from the Revolutionary War through Vietnam.
Longwood came together on June 19th to ensure that its
heroes would be “forgotten no more,” according to Paul Infranco, a
Longwood Junior High School social studies teacher, and one of the
driving forces behind the Bartlett Pond Memorial Park.
The project had been a personal history lesson for hundreds of
Longwood Junior High School students who researched the names and
biographies of the heroes through the decades.
To the veterans and their families, it was a personal moment of
And it was momentous.
“The dedication was very emotional and long overdue,” lifelong
Yaphank resident Ethel Neger Glover said. Mrs. Glover was a WAVE
during World War II, and a friend to many who are represented on the
That bright June morning, elderly veterans wearing there VFW or
service caps stood silently as American flags flapped in a sometimes
stiff breeze. Uniformed firemen surrounded the park and displayed
enormous American flags from the trucks in a show of respect. The
Longwood Junior High School String Ensemble set the tone for the
ceremony by playing patriotic music, while old friends reunited.
Members of the Board of Education and Superintendent Allan
Gerstenlauer are joined by the US Navy and elected officials as Navy
Musician 2nd class Laura Carey sings the National Anthem.
Navy officers remained at attention with all eyes on their color
guard, as they presented the colors to the rhythm of a solemn
cadence. The voice of the Navy vocalist singing the National Anthem
drowned out any traffic that slowed on Middle Country Rd. to observe
the hundreds of participants in a patriotic tribute to veterans from
the Longwood Community.
The hour-long celebration, led by retired Longwood Middle School
Principle Carl Verdi, who was joined by elected officials,
culminated a decade-long effort that began with the interview of
local World War II veterans by Longwood Junior High School social
studies students in the 90’s. It blossomed into the research of all
the local veterans as far back as the birth of the nation, and
resulted in the production of several volumes of biographies.
Vietnam veterans gather at their monument. "it was hard for us when
we came back from Vietnam," veteran Fred Wittschack said "this
(dedication) was a way for our community to show us they cared," he
Superintendent Allan Gerstenlauer presents a Longwood veteran medal
to Ethel Neger Glover, a Wave in World War II. Underage, she
"borrowed" her sister's birth certificate to enlist after seeing
"Here comes the Waves," with Cary Grant, She had family and friends
who fought in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Three
never returned from Vietnam.
“Longwood should be very proud.”
-Ethel Neger Glover, World War II
The students simultaneously held fundraisers to finance
the purchase of a permanent tribute to World War II veterans,
dedicated in 2007.
“I was so impressed that the children of Longwood wanted
to have a permanent World War II monument,” Korean War veteran
Harold Bachmann said, noting that his friend and Pearl Harbor
survivor Jim Eagle was among the first interviewed by the students.
It was a time for a grateful community to say “thank you
for your service.”
The monuments were unveiled one at a time by veterans’
descendants or by veterans themselves.
As anticipated, the Vietnam veterans comprised the
largest group. The tribute brought closure to some, as more than 20
reunited to unveil the black granite monument bearing more than 80
of their names and those of their high school buddies. The monument
replicates the Vietnam Memorial in Washington.
World War II veteran and local historian Donald Bayles and his wife
Doris enjoy the pinic at the Middle Island Fire Department following
the dedication ceremony. The park is located on land once farmed by
his great uncles who died in the Civil War.
“I was so impressed that the children of Longwood wanted to have a
permanent World War II monument.”
-Harold Bachmann Korean War
was hard for us when we came back from Vietnam." Veteran Fred
Wittschack said. This (dedication) was a way for our community to
show us they cared," he said.
Vietnam Veteran Patrick Accardi agreed. “In the 60’s,
no one cared when you returned from Vietnam,” he said. “Some of my
buddies never came home. It felt so good that someone cared about
“The dedication probably meant a lot more to me than to
most,” Mr. Bachmann said, explaining that he grew up knowing a lot
of the World War II veterans who were customers of his family’s
business, the Wellington Inn. “They never talked about the war.
They came in just to be with their friends.”
Malcolm Colson, an Army veteran from the Vietnam War, and his
grandson study photos of another era brought to the ceremony by Mrs.
The memorial park holds special significance for Donald
Bayles, a World War II veteran and local historian. The Bayles name
is prominent on the monuments, going back to the American
Revolution. The Civil War monument, which he and his wife Doris
unveiled, includes his great uncles, Albert and Edward, who were
killed together at the Battle of Cold Harbor. The brothers had once
farmed the land where the park now stands.
“I went to school with many of the boys on the World War
II monument,” Mr. Bayles said. His grandfather grew up in the
Joshua-Swezey house across the street from the park, and the
family’s cemetery plot lies in the eastern most portion of Union
Cemetery, adjacent to the park.
Retired Principal Carl verdi addresses the veterans. "Here, in my
mind are the ultimate heroes, who put their lives on the line every
day so we can have a better life."
The Revolutionary War monument was unveiled by Jeffrey
Davis, a descendent Goldsmith Davis, who fought the British and was
the first postmaster of Coram. Steve Trusnovec, a descendant of
Percy Homan who fought under General Pershing in the Tank Corps,
uncovered the World War I memorial.
unveiled the Revolutionary War monument.
Following the unveiling, Longwood Superintendent Allen
Gerstenlauer and the Board of Education presented veterans or the
members of their families with “Longwood Veteran” medals and
baseball caps. More than 50 were distributed.
The memorial park is a community/school effort supported
by the Longwood Alliance and the Longwood School District Student
fundraisers purchased the WWII monument in 2007. A 2009 Town of
Brookhaven resolution granted LIPA/Caithness Community monies for
the five new monuments. The Town of Brookhaven Parks Central Pine
Barrens Commission aided the monuments’ installation in June. Plans
are underway for a monument dedicated to the veterans of the Gulf
War, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan Wars.
Korean War veterans unveil their monument
Mr. Bayles unveils the Civil War monument
Korean War veteran helps to unveil the Korean War monument.
Old friends reunite
Longwood Board of Education President Michael Loguercio presents medal
to Vietnam veteran Fred Wittschack. Superintendent of schools Dr. Allan
Gerstenlauer looks on.
Dr. Gerstenlauer presents medal to Mr. Charles Stadier, Korean War
Dr. Gerstenlauer and World War II veteran Mrs. Henry
Dr. Gerstenlauer and World War II veteran Mr. tyronne Wilson
Yaphank veterans John Hoeffner, World War II and Martin Klein, Korean
Footnote: Contributing to the memorial
effort in addition to the Longwood Junior High School Social Studies
Department and hundreds of students were Gail Bailey, president of the
Longwood Alliance; Tom Talbot, president of the Middle Island Civic
Association; Gary gentile, Registered Landscape Architect and member of
the Veterans committee: Danny Tomaszewski, Harold Bachmann, Tom Talbot,
Tom Lyons, Scott Theobold, Gary Gentile, Paul Infranco and Gail bailey,
as well as officials from the Town of Brookhaven: Supervisor Mark Lesko,
Councilwoman Connie Kepert and her aid Liz Krolik-Alexander; Parks
Department Commissioner Ed Morris and his staff Tom Owens and John