The East End Honors Its Veterans

Pictured Above: Cadets from the Civil Air Patrol New York Academy at Southampton Village’s Veterans Day celebration.

Across the East End this Veterans Day weekend, the community came together to honor its veterans.

The celebrations began on Saturday, when about 30 members of Girl Scout Troop 865 and Troop 2623 and about 12 adult volunteers honored local veterans by placing flags on their grave sites at Cutchogue’s Old Burial Ground and the New and Old Bethany cemeteries in Mattituck, before heading to the Mattituck American Legion Hall for a light lunch.

Photos courtesy Mattituck American Legion

There were ceremonies honoring veterans throughout the Twin Forks on Monday, Nov. 11.

The Sag Harbor American Legion’s Chelberg & Battle Post 388 had big reason to celebrate this year: they’d recently finished construction on a new wing of their post dedicated to exhibiting artifacts brought back from war by veterans from Sag Harbor.

The busy post, which has about 135 members, has also recently absorbed the six remaining members of Bridgehampton’s Nathaniel Howell Topping Post, and has included items belonging to Bridgehampton members in the exhibition, said Paul Gerecke, the curator of the exhibition space and a past Sag Harbor post commander.

The exhibition also includes a Nazi flag captured by members of the 86th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Armored Division, signed by members of the squadron.

Commander Gerecke said that, while the flag may make some people feel uncomfortable, it was included in the exhibit in the spirit of philosopher George Santayana, who penned the famous quote “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Commander Gerecke said he hopes civilians come away from the exhibit “with an appreciation that everyone has a role to play in keeping this republic. Nothing comes for free.”

The American Legion hopes to keep the exhibition open as many weekends as possible throughout the year, and will rotate exhibitions through the space. Anyone who has pieces of military history regarding service members from Sag Harbor can call the Legion at 631.725.9759 to see about having their belongings added to the collection.

Not long after Sag Harbor’s exhibition opened, the Southampton community gathered by the memorial arch in Agawam Park to hear songs and words in celebration of its village’s veterans. Our photos are below:

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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