Local veterans organizations, businesses and the Town of Hempstead joined together recently to break ground for a new monument honoring the 33 Levittown residents who lost their lives in the Vietnam, Korean and Iraq wars.
"Throughout the history of our nation, the men and women of the United States military have made great sacrifices to ensure that we, as Americans, can live in peace and freedom," said Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray. "The names of these brave men from Levittown should never be forgotten and this monument will ensure that future generations will know of the brave heroes who were killed in the cause of freedom."
VFW 9592 Past Post Commander Jack Stein said he spearheaded the project about five years ago when he realized "Levittown doesn't have a monument and we should."
"This town was built for veterans after the second World War and the importance of it is to show generations from the past gave their lives not just for us but for future generations," Stein added.
The monument is being installed at Veterans Memorial Park in Levittown, which is Town of Hempstead property. American Legion Post 1711 Commander John Gonzalez said his organization tried for years to fundraise the money to erect a similar monument, but it "was such a big expense."
"The organization is proud that we're all getting together to pay homage to these guys that gave their lives to Vietnam," Gonzalez added.
The monument is being donated by Beth Dalton-Costello, owner of Dalton Funeral Homes, with a dedication stone being added by Wellwood Memorials.
Levittown was created by the veterans that live in it," Dalton-Costello said. "It is significant to recognize and honor veterans. If not Levittown, where would you do that?"
Dalton-Costello said she first heard local organizations were trying to fundraise for the monument.
"Knowing how difficult the times are and the money is and having such a strong affinity to the veterans in our community it just seemed like an ideal project for us to get behind," she added. "It was our privilege to participate. This was really a grassroots effort and a good display of the community coming together."
"We're [American Legion] happy that we're going to have it and are grateful to Beth Dalton," Gonzalez added.
Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes said that people must never forget all those who made the ultimate sacrifice and we must teach our children about those people.
"Now when schoolchildren pass the monument, they can see the names and ask questions about these heroes and why their names appear on this heroes memorial," he added.
The monument will be unveiled on Nov. 11 following the traditional Levittown Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Shelter Lane.