The Town of Huntington honored its World War II veterans Sunday, adding the names of 365 Huntington veterans of the war to its memorial in front of Town Hall.
Veterans whose names were added Sunday and attended the ceremony were Jack Stahl, Peter O’Donnell, Seymour Perlmutter, Robert Corcoran and Nick Haridopolos, as did Mortimer Roberts, whose name was already on the plaque. As their names were read out, the veterans stood or raised their hands to acknowledge the applause of the crowd.
Hundreds of veterans, relatives and others who were appreciative of the veterans’ service fighting the Nazis and the Japanese from 1940-45 gathered on Main Street in front of Town Hall for the ceremony and to cheer the aging veterans.
The Northport Pipe and Drum band, the Coast Guard Auxiliary Band, several veterans organizations including Elwood/Commack VFW Post 9263, Northport American Legion Post 694, Greenlawn American Legion Post 1244, Huntington American Legion Post 360, Combat Infantrymen’s Association, Jewish War Veterans Post 488, Marine Corps League Huntington Detachment 792, Navy Seabee Veterans of America, and Vietnam Veterans of America participated. Major General Ret. Anthony R. Kropp also spoke and helped lay a wreath in front of the World War II memorial.
Rabbi Yaakov Saacks of the Chai Center of Dix Hills, gave the invocation, while the Rev. Matthew Means of Old First Presbyterian Church, gave the benediction.
Councilman Ed Smyth singled out Second Lt. Joseph B. Bennett, a Tuskegee Airman who lived in Halesite. Smyth said he named Bennett because he was the very last name to be identified as a Huntington World War II veteran before the deadline to be added to the plaque, but when Smyth did, he brought a yelp and cheer from Bennett’s nephew, Bruce Good, who lives in Huntington.
Good said he was shocked but pleased to hear his uncle’s name. “I’m thrilled that his name is up on the plaque,” Good said after the ceremony.
Elected officials attending included Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Town Council members Gene Cook, Joan Cergol and Smyth; Town Clerk Andrew Raia; Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli; Tax Collector Jillian Guthman; State Assemblyman Keith Brown; State Sen. Jim Gaughran and Suffolk County Legislators Tom Donnelly and Susan Berland.
Main Street from Jackson Avenue to Prime Avenue was blocked off for the duration of the ceremony.
The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of Black pilots, mechanics and other support personnel formed in the segregated American armed forces during World War II. The aviators flew missions over Europe as bombers or fighter pilots or crews.