By Angelo R. Capobianco, Glen Cove Military Historian
As I am what some may call an old-timer now, I remember Glen Cove as a city divided into neighborhoods: the Orchard, Elm Avenue, Franklin Park, the Landing, Polish Alley, Back Road Hill, Long Branch and the Village. I was about 10 years old when my family moved out of the Orchard in 1940 to the Elm Avenue neighborhood. My younger brothers and I said to our mother, "Ma, we are going back to the Orchard everyday...our friends are there." My mother agreed there was no problem with that. We'd walk down First Street, a street with a front porch on every house and an Italian grandmother on every porch, making sure they knew who your family was. We were asked, Ma tu gee ce figlio? or "Who's son are you?" These grandmothers invented community watch as we have it today.
One of Franklin Park's heroes was Larry Comitino. One of 11 children born to Giacomo and Mary, Larry went into the Army during World War II along with his five brothers, Frankie, Dominic, Jimmy, Johnny and later Sally. Mrs. Comitino was widowed a week before the war started on Dec. 7, 1941, and she seemed to me to be the Lady in Black, forever clutching her rosary either facing St. Rocco's Church or the altar and statue of the Queen of Peace put up in front of the Troffa home. That statue still stands today, and I believe it heard more Hail Marys than the Vatican from all the mothers in that neighborhood during World War II.
Being an impressionable youth at the time of the war, on my walks I observed banners in windows, indicating a family member who was at war. Some banners had two and three stars on them and Mrs. Comitino's window had two banners, one with five stars, the most that was put on by the manufacturer, and one banner with one star, indicating that six of her sons went to war. A gold star on the banner meant a family member was killed in action.
First Street had two of these dreaded banners displayed, one at the Capozzi house in memory of their adopted son Tommy DiRocco. The other gold star was in the window of Mike Molinaro's home. Mike was one of Glen Cove's first casualties when his bomber plane crashed while in training, two weeks after the war started. Silvio Niere from the Village area was killed when his bomber-training plane crashed early in the war. The Franklin Park neighborhood produced many fighting heroes: Tony Montello, Joe Suozzi, Joe Scarfo, Frank DiMaggio, Mike Stanco. Rumor has it that Mike brought home the flying stick of a Japanese bomber he helped shoot down as a souvenir and kept it in a garage in First Street. A friend of Mike's said he took his garage apart looking for it.
I could go on for pages about this neighborhood that gave our country its best youth, the likes of MIA Tony "Bengal" Marangiello, General MacArthur's radioman in Corregidor who walked the infamous Bataan Death March and came home four years later weighing 80 pounds. Angelo Bellissimo was shot down over Germany after many bombing missions and held as a POW. Johnny Cipriano suffered the same fate as Angelo. The late "Mooney" Fabiano was one of the first captured at the Battle of the Bulge. And let's not forget Dominic Petrella...the two Pascucci families, Ernie and Johnny, Anthony and Al...the two Buffa brothers...Rocky "Much" Moccio...the Giambruno brothers, Ralphie, Johnny and Lympia...the four DiLeo brothers and Charley and Amato Stanco.
To the many others who served that I cannot remember, bare in mind that this article came not from any record books or archives, nor from your discharge papers or old copies of newspapers. It is from the memory of a then 12-year-old boy.
Larry Comitino fought his dreaded illness with the same guts he showed in the Third Infantry Division earning the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star (twice), Unit Citation and a medal for bravery from the French government. I last met Larry in Stop & Shop about two months ago; he was brave then and told me that he could handle this fight. Rest in peace, Larry! America will never forget!
Hopefully 50 years from now a young history buff who wants to know about how Glen Cove contributed to the Second World War will go to the Glen Cove Library and look up the contributions the boys from these neighborhoods made in that bloody war.
God bless all our young men and women who are serving our country today.
Carmela Stanco on August 26, 2004, of Glen Cove. Beloved daughter of the late Mariangela and Marco Stanco. Loving sister of the late Theresa Bruno, Angelina DiLeo, Virginia Orlando, Louis (Mary), Charles (Evelyn), Amato (Emily). Also many nieces and nephews. Honorary member of the St. Rocco Rosary Society. Arrangements were made by Bianconi Funeral Home.
Stuart P. Anderson of Danbury, CT , formerly of Sea Cliff, died on August 28, 2004. Beloved husband of the late Miriam and the late Betty. Loving father of James Anderson (Alice) and Judy Bramfeld (Paul). Cherished grandfather of Krista, Timothy and Christopher. Arrangements were made by Whitting Funeral Home.
Angelina M. Yula (nee Minicozzi) of Glen Cove, died peacefully at home on Aug. 18, 2004, at age 93. Beloved wife of the late Charles A. Loving mother of Dolores Noviello and Angela Rode (Robert). Adored grandmother of Noreen West (Robert), Charles Noviello (Lauren), Amy Rode and Robert Rode. Proud great grandmother of nine. Dear sister of Felicia Puco, and the late Jenny, Lucy, Nick, Mary and Antoinette. Cherished sister-in-law of Rocco and Virginia Yula. Also survived by loving nieces and nephews. Interment Holy Rood Cemetery.
William J. Pecau of Glen Cove died on Aug. 24, 2004. Beloved husband of Vivienne Pecau. Loving father of Will (Linda Berkeley) Pecau, Guy Pecau, Marie (Kevin) McDonald and Vivienne (Jim) Phelan. Dear grandfather of Jack, Julia, Katie, Murphy, Conor, Patrick, Megan, Kayla and AJ. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Liver Foundation, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 603, New York, NY 10038 or to St. Hyacinth Church, Cedar Swamp Road, Glen Head, NY 11545. Arrangements were made by Whitting Funeral Home.
Alice Hojnowski (nee: Beresniewicz) of Glen Head died on Aug. 24, 2004. Beloved and devoted wife of Stanley. Special and cherished mother of Patricia Aichinger (Michael), Donna Lagimoniere (Ron) and Karen Weber. Special grandma to Kaitlyn, Adam, Stefanie, Alex, Allison, Alyssa and Christopher. Special sister to Evelyn Cunningham (Ed), Betty Zabielski (Stan) and the late Helen Burggraaf. Loving aunt to many nieces and nephews. All of her family and many dear friends will miss her very much. Her kind, gentle spirit will be missed by all who loved her. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations in her memory to St. Hyacinth Church, 319 Cedar Swamp Road, Glen Head, NY, 11545. Arrangements were made by Whitting Funeral Home.
Frieda A. Sudholz of Glen Cove died on August 22, 2004 at age 95. Born in Williamhaven, Germany. Wife of the late Herman G. Mother of Herman O. and Gerda Balos. Grandmother of Steven and Kristin. Arrangements were made by Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home.
Joan Poirier Rodgers of Glenwood Landing, formerly of Brentwood died on Aug. 26, 2004. Mother of Frank Rodgers, Pauline Facey (Mark) and Scott Rodgers (Sharon). Grandmother of Samantha, John, Julia, Jerome, Henry, Olivia and Madeline. Sister of Carol, Bill and the late Paulette. Mrs. Poirier was a social worker who died suddenly at 62 years of age. A private burial service was held at Calvary Cemetery. Arrangements were made by Dodge-Thomas Funeral Home.