MINEOLA, NY – As the world observes the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today announced that the County will launch a year-long series of programs, observances, and tributes in coordination with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums, Nassau County Department of Veterans Affairs, the Cradle of Aviation, Museum of American Armor, and the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center.
Surrounded by armor, aircraft and artifacts from what County Executive Curran described as “a conflict that continues to define our nation and the world around us,” she introduced Nassau County’s yearlong observance that includes interactive events, retrospectives, tributes, and increasingly-relevant educational programs related to World War II, the Holocaust, Veterans affairs, and Long Island’s role during that era.
“We cannot direct our future unless we understand our past. This year is an opportunity for all Americans to salute the servicemen and women of the Greatest Generation who answered the call of duty, but also to revisit important lessons of World War II. The events surrounding World War II defined geo-political borders around the world, demonstrated genocidal actions of a regime that remains the embodiment of evil, and introduced technology that brought us to the moon and civilization to the edge of the nuclear abyss. Along with our partners at Cradle of Aviation, the Museum of American Armor, and the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center, Nassau County is proud to honor our servicemen and ensure present and future generations continue to appreciate the sacrifice and lessons of World War II,” said Nassau County Executive Curran
"Memories are fading about both what our country and our allies achieved in saving the world from Nazi tyranny as well as the horrors and extent of the Holocaust. This commemoration of the end of World War II and the liberation of the concentration camps is meaningful for all of us, but especially for the diminishing number of veterans who served and the survivors of the Holocaust. One of the key lessons when we teach about the present day dangers of antisemitism and other manifestations of hate is that the Holocaust happened because people, institutions and nations forgot history and were silent and indifferent in the face of hate. With the recent rise in antisemitism it is more important than ever that the lessons of the Holocaust and the shining leadership role of the United States in World War II are not forgotten,” said Steven Markowitz, Chair, Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County
“The Cradle of Aviation is honored to be a part of this very special program. Through this effort we can educate generations on the important role that long island played both overseas and on the home front. And it can serve as a lasting salute to the greatest generation,” said Andy Parton, President of the Cradle of Aviation.
This winter, a photographic essay of Long Island during World War II will be installed inside the County Center in Mineola curated by the Cradle of Aviation. The installation will highlight the central industrial role Long Island played in World War II. In addition, the Cradle will be hosting seminars and retrospectives beside many of the aircraft and early missiles manufactured on Long Island during that conflict. To mark the end of the war in Europe (VE Day) a public reception will be held at the Cradle in May that features music from a period Big Band, swing dancing and an armor parade with tanks from the Museum of American Armor.
The Armor Museum will be hosting World War II Encampment weekend June 13th and 14th on the grounds of Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR) and a day-long WW II field trip at OBVR on May 8th for over one thousand high school students from across the island. It will dedicate a WW II era assault landing craft similar to those used at Normandy by American armored forces on Friday May 22nd, on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend, September 5th and 6th, will feature Tanker Weekend when some 25 armor vehicles will be operating in the fields of OBVR.
Armor Museum’s Senior trustee Michael Sapraicone, stated, “We want to thank you County Executive Curran for leading the effort to ensure our county, and our region, better understand the lessons of World War II during this landmark anniversary year.
“While the Armor Museum is best known for its historic military vehicle collection, the fact is our presentation serves as an extraordinary classroom so that a new generation of Americans better understand the priceless gift of freedom they have been given by those who have served,” Carroll stated.
“All of these efforts are being undertaken at a time when an appreciation of what World War II continues to mean to our nation and the world is being allowed to fade. Together, we stand against losing those crucial lessons to time and indifference,” he concluded.
The Holocaust Museum and Tolerance Center of Nassau County will present retrospectives focusing on remaining Holocaust survivors from Long Island. Exhibitions over the following year will include special commemorations of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and other presentations which will draw prescient lessons about the importance of combating hatred and Anti-Semitism. Two confirmed events as part of this partnership will be: Sunday, January 26 at 1 p.m: A screening of the film “Jan Karski & The Lords of Humanity” in commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Jan Karski was a Polish underground courier, who travelled across occupied Europe to deliver eyewitness accounts of the unfolding Holocaust to Allied powers. The screening will be followed by commentary from the film’s director Slawomir Grunberg.
Sunday, May 17 at 1 p.m.: HMTC presents “All the Horrors of War: A Jewish Girl, a British Doctor, and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen,” a talk by author Bernice Lerner about her new book “All the Horrors of War,” which describes the final years of WWII through the lens of a British military doctor, H.L. Hughes and Survivor Ruth Mermelstein, Bernice Lerner’s mother.
HTMC will announce additional commemorational events in the coming months.