A few days before Memorial Day, Smithtown East High School officially unveiled its salute to alumni who served in the armed forces.
A dedication ceremony was held at the high school May 26 to honor past students who attended East as well as the former Central and Smithtown Branch high schools in the district. East Principal Kevin Simmons announced that the project was also beginning to receive submissions from those who attended High School West.
East’s Wall of Heroes situated in the hallway outside of the school’s Little Theater features the name, military portrait, high school graduation year and branch of military service of each graduate whose information was submitted.
Simmons said the project was a “multiyear labor of pride” that started with the school’s leadership committee students who wanted to honor alumni who served in the armed forces.
“As the central framework began to take root, we encountered several delays due to buildingwide construction issues and, of course, an unexpected pandemic,” he said.
The principal added, “Despite the obstacles and challenges that lay before them, our leadership students persevered and continued to march forward following the lead of Mr. Bill Coderre, a proud veteran himself. Whether working virtually, hybrid or live in person, our leadership students stayed the course until this worthy and overdue mission was complete.”
Simmons said above the Wall of Heroes are the symbols of each branch of the U.S. military. Underneath the main visual are seven monitors that feature each alumni’s name, photo and military information.
“This beautiful monument will proudly be displayed here in High School East for many years to come, reminding us all of the selfless acts and heroism of our alumni, and what they’ve accomplished in order to protect our lives, our liberty and our freedoms,” the principal said.
On hand for the ceremony and to help cut the grand opening ribbon were members of Smithtown’s American Legion James Ely Miller Post 833. The members helped the school’s leadership club with the project and featured visuals of the wall on the post’s website.
To help fund the wall, the leadership group started the high school’s field of honor. Community residents were asked to donate $20 for a flag that was placed on the school’s football field along Woodlawn Avenue. Donors were able to fill out a card to dedicate the flag to a veteran, active service member, law enforcement, etc.
For those interested in viewing the wall or being included, visit the Smithtown High School East website page which features a Wall of Heroes link.