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Summer Concert To Honor Veteran

For Maestro Louis Panacciulli, the 30th anniversary of the Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra is not just about giving back; it’s paying it forward. That’s his message in honoring war veteran Bryan Dilberian at the Tribute to America concert and Village of Mineola Fireworks Show at Memorial Park in Mineola on Friday, July 11 at 8 p.m.


“Bryan’s a great American,” Panacciulli said.


Dilberian, a triple amputee, was on patrol in Afghanistan near Kandahar in July 2011 where he hit an improvised explosive device, losing his legs and left arm.


Dilberian attended a Pops concert at Chaminade High School in April, in honor of Sgt. Carl Duda. He received a hi-tech wheelchair outfitted with tank tracks. Dilberian will be given one next week.


The village brought in Bay Fireworks again this year to conduct the fireworks show. They conducted events during the Mineola Centennial Celebration in 2006 and past Summer Concert Series events.


“It’s a great night for Mineola,” Mayor Scott Strauss said. “We owe [Bryan] a debt that can never be repaid. This community and country appreciate the sacrifice he made. How can you not want to be there for that. Helping disabled veterans is paramount.”


This year’s display will include the additional aerial displays and extended time featured at last year’s show. Fireworks will begin after the concert concludes.


“Every year, the village gives more and more of a commitment to the program,” Panacciulli said. “They help a lot. The Chamber of Commerce has been behind us.”


Panacciulli pointed to his family’s military service history as a driving force behind his appreciation for those who fought for the United States. His parents emigrated from Italy in the 1920s. Panacciulli’s father Joe was drafted into the U.S. Navy serving in World War II, essentially fighting against his homeland (Italy was part of the Axis Powers in WWII).


Lou said his dad didn’t waver in his support for America and hopes younger generations remember those who fought for their freedom.


“He always loved the U.S. and that’s the way I grew up,” Lou said. “I’m a very patriotic person and I think that’s being lost these days. One of the missions of the Nassau Pops is being thankful to the people who serve this country.”


Panaciulli’s son Michael also served two years in the U.S. Navy on a missile cruiser in Japan. Lou’s family roots are what drive his appreciation for freedom.


“I’m stuck between two sailors,” he joked.


The concert will feature traditional American classics, including “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.” But, it will also feature lesser-played pieces, like “Thin Alabaster Cities Gleam” and “Flight of Valor.” 


 “In Their Honor,” by Carl Strommen, is dedicated to the victims of the Sept., 11, 2001 attacks.