By Eden Laikin
In an era of cancelled air shows and a reduced NYC Fleet Week, a permanent tribute to the American G.I. that will also aid Nassau County’s tourism and parks revenue
Old Bethpage, NY – In the face of cancelled air shows around the country and the downgrading of NYC’s Fleet Week, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today the permanent creation of the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage.
County Executive Mangano was joined at the announcement by Legislative Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, several veterans including tankers from WW II, living historians, History Channel executives and other museum sponsors, as an entire column of World War II armored vehicles advanced to the podium. The museum is made possible by a million dollar gift from Lawrence Kadish.
“In addition to honoring the American G.I. in a powerful and compelling manner, this announcement is also an unprecedented opportunity to expand the scope of Old Bethpage Village Restoration while preserving the integrity of its historic setting,” County Executive Mangano. “Doing so will recharge public awareness while bringing in additional tourism revenue that can be used to help hold the line on County property taxes.”
“This new chapter that we add today, in the life of this complex, will add depth to our understanding of American history,” Mangano said. “Given our intent today it is fitting and appropriate that we honor the souls of those individuals who have given their lives on behalf of our freedoms.”
Mangano also assured spectators at the press conference, that the Memorial Day weekend air show at Jones Beach will be held regardless of the loss of the Thunderbirds. Meanwhile, Fleet Week in New York City will be greatly reduced and across the country air shows are being cancelled weekly.
He added that an armor museum honors every American G.I. and he expects the ground breaking to be done before summer.
“It will not only pay tribute to those who have defended our nation, but will also strengthen the county’s tourism and destination industry,” Mangano said “In addition, it will provide a new source of revenue for the county’s park system.
He added: “The ability to create an armored column that replicates the sights and sounds of American forces during World War II is one of the most compelling educational tools we have to recount the story of our GIs’ courage, valor and sacrifice. Place it in this setting of vintage farmhouses and country roads so reminiscent of the WWII era Normandy countryside, and you have created a literal time machine that ensures indelible memories for families.”
The million dollar gift will fund the construction of a 25,000 square foot building. The new armor museum will work closely with the American Airpower Museum and the Cradle of Aviation and is endorsed by the History Channel.
On May 18th and 19th a World War II encampment will be staged at the site of the new museum, in the Old Bethpage Village Restoration Center.