Long Island veterans shared laughs Saturday as they recalled memories of their service, while reflecting solemnly on the ones that didn’t come home.
They and others celebrating veterans visited various Long Island museums this weekend, to see displays of vintage warplanes, tanks and other machines in honor of Veterans Day.
At the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage, veterans took part in a military re-enactment exercise where they stormed the hills outside the museum with guns and tanks to applause from the crowd that watched.
But they also took time to reminisce.
“Holy cow! How long ago was that?” Michael Glick, a Merrick resident in his 70s, laughed as a fellow veteran took out an old scrapbook to show pictures from decades ago, including ones of a younger Glick in uniform and inside fighter planes.
A former military pilot who served overseas from 1959 to 1963, Glick said he liked to take part in such re-enactments as a way to show people the importance of veterans’ service, while giving them a chance to have fun learning.
For Glick, Veterans Day was about “remembering who those men were, what they did and what they fought for.”
At the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, Dave Palughi, 74, of Astoria, Queens, who served in the Army Signal Corps from 1964 to 1966 and works as a volunteer with the museum, said the Vietnam War section of the museum reminded him of “happy memories, the friends that I made.”
At the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Sol Goodman, 84, of Bethpage, said the museum’s different warplane displays reminded him of his days as a mechanic for the Air Force during the Korean War.
Younger members of the armed forces also took time to honor veterans this weekend.
Anthony Canicatti, 22, of Holtsville, who serves in the National Guard, said he grew up on the harrowing stories of his great-uncle, James DiPaola, who served in the Army during World War II. His family has served in the armed forces for generations, inspiring Canicatti to follow in their footsteps.
“It’s funny, people will walk up to me now and say ‘Thank you for your service,’ but I don’t feel like I’ve earned that yet,” Canicatti said, gesturing to the older veterans at the Museum of American Armor. “These guys, they’re the ones who deserve that respect.”