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New armored vehicles museum for Bethpage

World War II armored vehicles advanced onto the

World War II armored vehicles advanced onto the grounds of the Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Thursday during a press conference regarding the permanent creation of The Museum of American Armor at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration. (May 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Surrounded by World War II tanks and other armored vehicles, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on Thursday announced the creation of a new county museum at Old Bethpage Village Restoration dedicated to the war machines.

"Today we are creating a new chapter in the life of this [Restoration] complex that will add depth to our understanding of American history," Mangano told the audience.

"An armor museum that honors every American GI will be created here . . . with groundbreaking scheduled for this summer [and] . . . it will also strengthen the county's tourism and destination industry," he said.

Nassau County Republican chairman Joseph Mondello, wearing a blue veteran's cap, introduced Lawrence Kadish of Old Westbury, who has donated $1 million to the museum along with two vintage armored vehicles that he bought and had restored to driving condition.

Kadish, the museum's founding chairman, said, "Seeing these vehicles rumbling across an open field re-creates a moment in time that allows us to fully honor our military and understand what was required of an entire generation whose sacrifices ensured the defeat of brutal enemies seeking world domination."

"Seeing these vehicles rumbling across an open field recreates a moment in time that allows us to fully honor our military and understand what was required of an entire generation whose sacrifices ensured the defeat of brutal enemies seeking world domination," Kadish said.

Two World War II armored veterans on hand were Hy Horowitz, 93, of East Meadow, and Ed Collins, 89, of Levittown.

“This is not about glorifying war; this is about telling new generations about the sacrifices required to protect their freedoms,” Horowitz said.

Plans call for a 25,000-square-foot facility on the grounds of the village. Operational vehicles that will be on public display include a Sherman tank, a Stuart light tank, a 155-millimeter howitzer and reconnaissance vehicles that served as armored scouts.

Other vehicles range from a classic LaSalle staff car to jeeps, weapons carriers and half-tracks.

“This announcement marks a unique commitment by public and private sectors to preserve and present a seminal chapter in the history of our nation and our world,” said dhief historian for the History Channel Libby O’Connell in a statement.

She added that this new museum will enable a joint marketing program with the nearby American Air Power Museum at Republic Airport and Nassau County’s Cradle of Aviation Museum at Mitchel Field.

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