The following is a newspaper article written by RPHS member Natalie Aurucci-Stiefel.
WORLD WAR II SIGN DEDICATION
On June 4, 2005 a replica of a World War II “Honor Roll” sign, which once stood at the Joseph A Edgar School came home once again. The replica project was the result of a partnership between the Rocky Point Historical Society and the Fischer-Hewins VFW Post #6249 of Rocky Point. The sign lists the Joseph A. Edgar students who were serving during World War II at the time the original sign was installed.
Vice Principal, Kenneth.Crawford, greeted the visitors. He said “I would like to dedicate this sign to our World War II veterans, because they do play a special part in our history.” Members of the Joseph A. Edgar Student Council each wore red, white and blue and carried small American flags during the ceremony.
Fischer-Hewins VFW Post Quartermaster, Joseph Cognitore, said “This is a great moment for me, especially this week being the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day. Commander, Robert Ward and my self, spent this past weekend at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. which was a great experience. Coming here today is part of our community relations and it is also a great experience for us. Quartermaster Cognitore gave a description of what the colors of our flag mean. He said: We have come here to dedicate a Roll of Honor naming those from this community who went forth in this living strength of our flag. They were the United States Armed Forces on land, on sea and in the air. Some of them did not return. These American defenders left our schools, our shops and our farms to take upon weapons against the foe. They left their peace-time pursuits with confidence in their hearts and assurances upon their lips. They were aware of the dangers before them, yet they responded without hesitancy to call to duty. They are the ones for whom we toiled and prayed for here at home to help make their efforts victorious so that they might return and live with us in everlasting peace and security. The Veterans of Foreign Wars look upon all of these honored ones as comrades. Fighting under the flag of this nation is the privileged duty of every able bodied American. The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States will always honor those who go forth in defense of our country. We are true guardians of freedom justice and equality among men.”
President, Kenneth C. Blinn, of the Rocky Point Historical Society introduced Joan Depken and Natalie Stiefel who worked on the Honor Roll replica sign project.
Brookhaven Town Councilman, Kevin McCarrick said “This is a wonderful tribute to our community. We are very fortunate to live in a community like this. We are fortunate to have an Historical Society that knows what happened in our community and makes sure we never forget. We are also fortunate that our VFW is so strong in this community. It reminds us every day that the presence of our veterans here is very great. I had my mother, my father and three of my brothers serve and I am proud to be here today honoring them and our veterans.
Suffolk County Legislator, Dan Lasquadro remarked “We are here today to remember. We have to support our troops We need men like this within our community. We need the women, who I see out there are an integral part of supporting the VFW. I just want to say thank you to all of them, to all the members of our Armed Forces who are on patrol and members of our community who are left behind and those who are in harm’s way today in time of war. God bless all the veterans here today, all the men we have lost and all the men who continue to defend our freedom.”
Several of the veterans whose name appeared on the Honor Roll attended the ceremony, Eugene Luerssen, served in the U. S. Navy, David Olsen, U. S. Army and Elbert Rentsch, U. S. Army. Loretta Philibert Saylor attended in memory of her deceased brother, Leon Philibert, who served in the U. S. Navy. Kevin and Hugh McCarrick represented their father, Thomas F. McCarrick and uncle, William J. McCarrick who both served in the U. S. navy. Tom Lindvidt attended, who was a former student of Joseph A. Edgar School. He entered the U. S. Navy in August of 1944. The “Honor Roll” sign was placed at the School during World War II and had not included his name at that time. Future plans are being made to include any other World War II Joseph Edgar students.
A reception for the veterans and attendees was graciously arranged by the school in their atrium. The sign will be permanently installed near the flagpole in the near future.