Editorial: New museum to honor local veterans and preserve history

Editorial: New museum to honor local veterans and preserve history

Above, organizers outside the planned veterans museum in Rocky Point. From left, museum curator Rich Acritelli, VFW Post 6249 Cmdr. Joe Cognitore and museum committee member Frank Lombardi. Photo by Raymond Janis

Later this year, members of the Rocky Point Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6249 will launch a museum showcasing the lives and legacies of local vets.

Each of us has been touched by a veteran. Whether they are our family members, friends or remote acquaintances, American veterans have given much of themselves so that we may enjoy our freedoms.

After completing their military service at home and abroad, many have returned to Long Island to build up and enrich our community. Their examples of duty and sacrifice can offer powerful insight for civilian life. Now, our vets aspire to continue their service by educating us on the trials of war.

At TBR News Media, we uphold the adage that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. We also regret the anti-historical narrative sweeping our contemporary culture.

If we are to strive for peace, we must learn from war. If we are to endure as a community and nation, we must confront our history forthrightly.

Veterans can teach us — especially our youth — some of life’s most important lessons: How can the veteran experience inform our understanding of mental health and trauma? What can the confrontation with death teach us about life? What is the meaning of sacrifice? 

Our service members are an untapped fountain of history and wisdom. They possess firsthand knowledge of some of our nation’s most important events. We must hear these stories. But to get there, we must first lend a hand.

The curators of the Rocky Point veterans museum are actively soliciting donations. Whether by contributing monetarily, sending military gear or books or volunteering our time to build out the facility, we can all do our part to assist in this noble endeavor.

Long Island’s veterans have served our nation courageously, and this museum will soon stand as the next iteration in their long line of service. 

Let us channel and honor their example. May we, too, answer the call by showing our appreciation and sharing the stories of our local veterans. 

To learn more or how to donate, please contact the museum’s curator, Rich Acritelli, at [email protected].