Friday, 09 December 2011 00:00
(Editors Note: This letter was sent to Mr. F. Richard Lennon in South Carolina, and to the Manhasset Press for publication.)
It would appear from your correspondence that if an agency or group or
person feels that an individual or individuals should be honored, then that recommendation should be acted upon immediately. It certainly is a wonderful idea ideally, but there are certain criteria that must be observed in any similar situation.
As pointed out in previous correspondence, it was not easy to develop the lists of veterans for inclusion in the Manhasset Gold Star Monument dedicated in 1976. Legionnaires spent considerable time and effort, initially reviewing local records, interviewing residents in the community, researching through appropriate documentation and other means to confirm the Manhasset residency, the time period recorded for each of the indicated wars, and the accounts of specific actions attributed to each veteran. The initial effort took years.
When your letter was received, a threeperson committee was formed to evaluate and determine the validity of your proposal. The same criteria that had been the basis of the initial effort was implemented to begin the review. The initial and basic criteria had to be applied and met.
However, this time the effort was confined to a search of records, government as well as local, for just the two veterans you had noted.
The research posed distinct questions—was there any one in the community who remembered these individuals or their families; were they Manhasset residents; did they serve during the dates of the Vietnam War (February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975); was there any evidence that they enlisted here in the armed services and/or served overseas.
Initially, no one here was aware of the two veterans. But the committee kept searching and talking to residents. This all took time in order for the committee to provide an appropriate and verified basis for an informed decision. That decision was to add the names of these two veterans onto the Manhasset Gold Star Monument. That decision was also made prior to receipt of your second critical letter.
We must also note that Manhasset Post 304 has, over the years, been one of the most decorated posts in Nassau County in its participation in and execution of programs beneficial to veterans. Year after year, the post has also been recognized for its support of the community and for recognition of its services to the community—scholarships, awards, youth and veterans. The Legionnaires who served this great country with distinction, love of country and merit, served in all the areas of the world where a threat existed Europe, North Africa, Philippines, Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Guam, Okinawa, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Many received meritorious medals for outstanding and exemplary valor. As you might note-freedom is not free.