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After a long campaign to recognize the heroism of Congressional Medal of Honor winner Douglas T. Jacobson, the new wing of the Weber Middle School was dedicated in his honor. Among the many guests at the dedication on Friday, Oct. 7, were (left to right): Peggy Dettori, Department Commander of the American Legion in Alaska; Joan Jacobson, wife of Major Douglas T. Jacobson, USMC (Retired); Robert Seiden, president, board of education; Jean Marie-Posner, chairperson, Community Relations Committee, board of education; Marilyn Rodahan, principal, Weber Middle School.

On Friday, Oct. 7, hundreds of Port residents, including elected officials and veterans groups crowded into the library of the Weber Middle School to name Weber's new wing after one of Port's heroes of WWII, Major Douglas T. Jacobson of the United States Marine Corps. The date was selected to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the date President Harry S Truman presented the Congressional Medal of Honor to PFC Jacobson for outstanding bravery during the battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific.

The impressive standing-room-only gathering included an active Marine detachment, a color guard and Marine veterans clad in bright red Marine Corps windbreakers. Two easels, one draped with Jacobson's Medal of Honor, and second mounted with a picture of President Truman presenting the medal to PFC Jacobson were placed next to the speaker's lectern. Nassau Legislator Craig M. Johnson served as master of ceremonies.

Local veterans groups and a color guard participated in the dedication of the Major Douglas T. Jacobson wing of the Weber Middle School.

Co-chairman of the Veterans Committee, Bart Cosolito read Jacobson's biography. Cosolito's co-chairman Jerry Sears outlined Jacobson's military career and read his citation for bravery. Cosolito said, of 27 Medals of Honor awarded for bravery on Iwo Jima, 14 were awarded posthumously.

Douglas Thomas Jacobson was born in Rochester, NY and raised in Port, the son of a carpenter. He left high school at 17 to join the Marines, and exhibited extraordinary heroism at the invasion of Iwo Jima. He led the assault on Hill 382, the highest point on the island. After a four-day siege, he was credited with the destruction of 16 enemy fortifications and the killing of 75 Japanese soldiers.

The heroism of Jacobson was noted in the editorial 'Tribute To a Hero' which appeared in The Port Washington News in 1945. The editorial noted that Jacobson was the first serviceman on Long Island to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor and labeled his bravery 'one of the noblest expressions of human love.' He received the award from President Harry S Truman at the White House in October 1945. The following day, a parade on Main Street and a reception at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club were held to honor the returning hero

He reenlisted in the Marines in April 1946 and graduated from officer candidate school after being stationed in China. He ended his military career as a major in 1967 after serving in Vietnam. After retirement, he lived in Marlton and Willingboro in New Jersey and sold real estate. He moved to Florida in 1967 and died there in August 2000.

A Florida veteran's group quickly recognized the contribution Jacobson had made to his country and organized to honor his achievements. In June 2002, there was groundbreaking in Port Charlotte, Florida for the Donald T. Jacobson State Veterans Nursing Home, a 69,000 square foot, 120-bed facility. The ceremony heralded the fifth veteran's nursing home in southwest Florida and was attended by Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Secretary of State Kathleen Harris.

Speakers at the Weber dedication included Superintendent of Schools Dr. Geoffrey N. Gordon, an invocation by Floyd Mackey, chaplain of the American Legion Post, Rob Seiden, president of the board of education. Major Jacobson's widow was present and spoke briefly of her husband's early years in Port. Representatives of Senator Clinton and Assemblyman DiNapoli were present as were a number of representatives of news organizations.

The most poignant moment came with the introduction of Captain Raymond Lopes, an officer who was awarded the Purple Heart for action in Iraq. The audience went silent as the uniformed Marine officer hobbled on crutches to the lectern. In his dress uniform bedecked with ribbons, he spoke of the 14 attributes needed to be a Marine. Marines are required to memorize and recite these attributes. Captain Lopes related the attributes to those personal characteristics of PFC Jacobson, which gave him the strength of character many years ago in Iwo Jima.

The dedication concluded as Art George, commander of the American Legion Post 509 crisply gave the order to 'dismiss the colors.' The ceremony was followed by a reception. Logo
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