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Levittown Veterans To Honor War Heroes

On Sunday, Feb. 2, there will be ceremonies held nationwide to commemorate the bravery of “The Four Chaplains,” men of the cloth who gave their lives in a 1943 World War II battle so that others could survive. One of those solemn ceremonies will be held in

Roslyn Harbor at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, with ceremonies beginning at 2 p.m.  

 

“It’s not about what they meant to the Levittown community, but what they meant to society as a whole,” said Levittown Veteran Andrew Booth, a former commander of the Nassau County American Legion. “These four heroes sacraficed their lives by giving up their lifejackets.”

 

The Four Chaplains — Rev. George Fox, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Rev. Clark Poling and Rev. John Washington — are legendary figures in American military history. They were officers on the U.S.S. Dorchester, a civilian cruise ship that had been converted into military service once war broke out. 

 

On Jan. 23, 1943, the Dorchester left New York as part of a three-ship convoy headed towards Greenland. It had 904 men on board. On the morning of Feb. 3, 1943, a German submarine attacked it. Immediately, panic set in as some sailors had life jackets, while

others were without them. The chaplains organized an evacuation of the ship and as the supply of life jackets ran out, all four gave their respective jackets to sailors who were without one. Survivors recalled that as the ship went down, prayers and hymns could be heard from the deck.

 

Over the decades, the legend of The Four Chaplains has grown considerably, not only as an act of extraordinarily courage, but also one of interfaith goodwill. 

 

The four men have been the subject of several books, a 2004 television documentary, a music composition, The Light Eternal, plus numerous pieces of artwork, including stained glass windows, sculptures and plaques, plus chapels and sanctuaries standing throughout the country. 

 

In 1948, a commemorative stamp was issued in their honor. Three years later, President Harry S. Truman dedicated The Chapel of the Four Chaplains in Washington, DC. In 1960, the four received the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. Also in

Washington, the chaplains are commemorated with a stain glass window at the National Cathedral. Other stained glass windows are in buildings at the United States Pentagon and the West Point Military Academy.

 

In the New York City area, the Four Chaplains are remembered in a variety of places. That includes monument and plaque memorials at the Belmont Park Racecourse in Elmont, Eisenhower Park at Veterans’ Memorial Plaza, the Kings County Courthouse in Brooklyn, and the Four Chaplains Memorial Swimming Pool at the Veterans Hospital in the Bronx.

 

Each year, the non-denominational church service is hosted by a variety of churches throughout the county. This year’s service at St. Mary’s Church, is located at 110 Bryant Ave., in Roslyn Harbor. Call 516-621-2222 for information. 

News

More than 475 runners from all across Long Island, came together on Aug. 30, for the tenth annual Companions in Courage one-mile run.

 

For Andrea Kopatka, 49, of Levittown, this was her first race in three years. 

 

“I wanted to run this race before I turned 50,” she said. “It was on my bucket list.” 

Over the summer, 13-year-old Zachary Martin of Levittown was named an All-American athlete for his performance on the gridiron, earning him an invitation to the ninth annual Offense-Defense Youth All-American Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

 

Martin, a defensive lineman for the Wisdom Lane Middle School Wildcats, said he was selected among a group of young athletes after attending a rigorous five-day football camp at LIU Post.  


Sports

The National Brain Tumor Society hosts its Long Island Brain Tumor Walk on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Jones Beach State Park, 1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. Programs and activities run from 8 a.m. to noon.

Michelle Duffy of Levittown was recently named head coach for the Blue Angels’ cross country program at the College of New Rochelle. 

 

“We are very pleased to have a coach with Michelle’s pedigree take the reins of our cross country program,” said Athletics Director Harold Crocker. “Her success athletically and academically, as well as her ability to mentor and guide young women, makes her the ideal coach for the Blue Angels.”


Calendar

Levittown Board of Ed - September 10

Patriot Day - September 11

Annual Country Fair  - September 13


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com