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Garden City Unveils New War Memorial

Veterans, Clergy, Political Dignitaries, Family Members Honor G.C. Residents Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

A project five years in the making from conception to construction, the new Garden City War Memorial was unveiled at the village’s Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 30.  The memorial replaces the village’s existing memorial on Seventh Street, opposite the Garden City Hotel. “It is a magnificent rendering of respect for those from Garden City who have served in the military to guarantee our wonderful way of life and especially for those whose lives were taken from us in moments of personal bravery,” said John C. Donovan, Commander, William Bradford Turner Post 265, who directed the ceremony.

While Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer, the message put forth at the dedication was clear. “Memorial Day is dedicated to honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice – the sacrifice of their lives,” Donovan said. Indeed, it is not a celebration but a remembrance.

“In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day, it’s always made me uneasy when the media speaks about the ‘celebration’ of Memorial Day,” said Nassau County Legislator Vincent T. Muscarella. “Memorial Day is really a solemn occasion. It’s a sacred holiday. It’s a day where we sit down and we reflect upon those who have given the supreme sacrifice to our great country. It’s about service and dedication and respect,” he said.

For the family members of Garden City residents who were killed while serving our country, that sentiment resonates. Addressing those relatives who were present, Donovan said, “You have our sincere condolences on your losses and please know that we honor your loved ones with very special reverence today.”   

The names of 61 Garden City residents who were killed during combat are recorded on the monuments, which honor men and women who served in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Iraq and Afghanistan War. Family members present at the dedication included Bob Campbell, cousin of deceased Garden City resident Robert Michael Finnegan; Steve Jones, brother of deceased Garden City resident Walter Chapman Jones, III; Patricia York, sister of deceased Garden City resident Robert Anthony Kisch; Darlene Schnure, widow of deceased Garden City resident Timothy John Shorten; and members of the Michael Lucian Licalzi family.

Whether having lost relatives during World War I or more recently during the Iraq and Afghanistan War – or any time in-between – the pain of loss remains acute. Time neither dulls the ache nor minimizes the significance of the loss.

Speaking from the heart and not a script, Schnure, widow of U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Timothy John Shorten, said, “I thought that I should humanize some of the names on these plaques for the young people to realize that they really were a lot like them.” Shorten, a lifelong resident of Garden City who graduated from St. Anne’s School, Chaminade High School and Holy Cross College, worked as a social studies teacher at St. Agnes Cathedral High School for two years. His entrenchment in social studies led to his interest in the “domino theory” and containing Communism.

 “He believed in what we were doing in Vietnam and decided that he wanted to be part of it,” Schnure said. He stopped teaching and enrolled in officers training school in Quantico. He became a Marine and “nothing I could say was able to stop him from volunteering to go over there,” she reflected. Shorten was killed in South Vietnam on March 31, 1968, nine months after his tour began. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star, Schnure said.

Other Garden City residents who were killed in Vietnam, whose names are recorded on the Vietnam War structure, include Robert Michael Finnegan, Walter Chapman Jones III, Robert Anthony Kisch, Richard Nash McInerney, Frederick Richard Ohler and Philip Francis Sheridan. Each of those war heroes is memorialized on virtual walls, as well: www.virtualwall.org and www.thewall-usa.com.

Deceased Garden City residents who are recorded on the World War I Memorial include Emil Lauterwasser, Victor Mitchell, William D. O’Connell, Cyril S. Stephenson, Arthur Teets and 1st Lieutenant William Bradford Turner. Turner, who was killed in Ronssoy, France, on Sept. 27, 1918, received the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government.

The WWII “Roll of Honor” lists all of the men and women who served during that war, including 45 who were killed while serving. Lieutenant Colonel Leon Robert Vance, Jr., who perished over Wimereux, France, on June 5, 1944, was also awarded the Medal of Honor.

The Korean War Memorial lists former Garden City residents Robert C. Carroll and John Bernard Murphy, Jr., who were killed during the Korean Conflict of 1950-1953.

The most recent Garden City resident killed in the line of duty is Michael Lucian Licalzi, who was killed in Iraq and is honored on the Iraq & Afghanistan War Memorial.

“Later on, in the course of the next year or so, we’re also going to expand this monument to include a virtual wall, where you’ll be able to read postings of family stories and stories of friends and comments of friends, of each one of these people,” Donovan said. Similar to the virtual walls mentioned above, this wall will focus solely on Garden City residents who lost their lives while serving our country. “That will give you a more in-depth feeling for the wonderful people that each individual was,” he said.