Old Bethpage, NY – On the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano officially opened the new Museum of American Armor on the grounds of Old Bethpage Village Restoration with more than 20 operational armor vehicles and D-Day veterans. County Executive Mangano was joined by Congressman Peter King, Museum founder Lawrence Kadish, former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and The History Channel’s Chief Historian and Vice President Dr. Libby O’Connell.
The Museum of American Armor is made possible by a public-private partnership that generates new revenue for the recreation village and creates a permanent living classroom for a new generation of Americans to appreciate the battlefield sacrifices made on their behalf.
Nassau County Executive Mangano stated, “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 virtual time machine that ensures indelible memories for families.”
Operational vehicles on public display include the iconic Sherman tank, a Stuart tank used extensively by the Marines during their Pacific campaigns, a potent 155 mm howitzer, reconnaissance vehicles that acted as armored scouts for American forces, anti-aircraft guns and similar weapons that broke the back of the Axis powers during World War II. Other vehicles range from a classic LaSalle staff car in the markings of a Fleet Admiral, to jeeps, weapons carriers and half-tracks.
Mr. Kadish stated, “WW II will continue to fascinate current and future generations because the stark depiction of good versus evil is so dramatic. In addition, everyone has someone in their family’s history who fought in that war, survived the carnage or was lost during that conflict. It also reminds us that the current War on Terror still demands American courage in the face of relentless evil.”
Beyond World War II programs, the Museum includes tributes to the American service men and women who have served in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan and the War on Terror so that the museum is able to fulfill its mission of honoring America’s defense of freedom throughout the decades.
In recognition of the economic power of heritage tourism, the Cuomo Administration, New York State Senator Dean Skelos and Assemblyman Charles Lavine have directed some $1.6 million towards the Museum’s construction.
In a joint statement, Senator Skelos and Assemblyman Lavine explained, “In addition to the power of this museum to pay tribute to the American soldier, it is also an economic generator that strengthens our tourism destination industry, a growing factor in our local economy. The rate of return for the taxpayer will be significant as the armor museum attracts national and international visitors to its operational collection.”
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $7 for children ages 5 – 12 (under 5 are free); and $7 for seniors, volunteer firefighters and veterans. Admission to the Museum of American Armor also provides visitors with access to Old Bethpage Village Restoration.