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Newsday story about dedication of memorials at park

Students honor LI war veterans with memorials

Newsday

Published: June 19, 2010 9:03 PM
By RACHEL BRYSON-BROCKMANN  rachel.bryson-brockmann@newsday.com

 


 Newsday story about dedication of memorials at park

JOHN GRIFFIN PHOTO A Veteran scans names on the Korean War memorial.

Seven years ago, Kevin Candiotti was researching the lives of war veterans in the area, one of many students involved in an ongoing project at Longwood Middle School.

Saturday, Candiotti, 20, now an NROTC midshipman and a rising junior at SUNY Maritime College, stood proudly in full uniform to watch the unveiling of 12 years' worth of student research.

 Newsday story about dedication of memorials at park
Left to right  Devin Loguercio, Michael Loguercio, Kevin Candiotti

Five granite monuments - honoring veterans of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, Korean War and Vietnam War - were dedicated at Bartlett Pond Park in Middle Island Saturday, joining the World War II monument erected there in 2007. The six monuments are inscribed with the names of more than 500 veterans who lived in the communities that comprise the Longwood School District.

More than 300 veterans, their families and community members attended the event.

Erin Waters, 20, a rising junior at American University who participated in the project in seventh grade, recalls going to the Riverhead courthouse to dig through service records and property deeds of Revolutionary War veteran Jacob Corwin.

"The project was amazing because it connected what we were reading and learning in class to real people and real events from the past," she said. "To be 13 years old and to be able to do my own research was a great experience."

Veterans' biographies compiled by students were assembled into bound packets, distributed at the dedication.

The idea for the monuments stemmed from a 1998 visit to a Longwood Middle School class by World War II veteran James Eagle, who spoke of his experience at Pearl Harbor.

"His story so inspired students that they wanted to find a way to honor him," said history teacher Paul Infranco. Under Infranco's guidance, the project expanded to honor veterans from the other five wars.

The students also raised more than $15,000 for the monuments through school fundraisers, Infranco said.

Joseph Woodard, 13, took part in the project this school year, researching World War II veteran Tyrell Wilson. "He was so interesting to me because he was part of one of the first mixed-race units to serve in the military," Woodard said.

"The kids of today are remembering our past," Assemb. Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) said in a speech, "and that's something really special."

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