About 200 veterans gathered Friday for the dedication of a new memorial -- 12 black-granite cenotaphs, each marking one of America's wars.
Funded by a host of private donors, the memorial outside the Northport VA Medical Center was the idea of the Suffolk chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America.
Chapter president Rich Kitson said the group conceived of the memorial as a way of putting aside years of hurt many Vietnam veterans felt at being shunned by society at the end of that war.
"To harbor resentment for 40 years to a nation that didn't welcome us home is a negative," Kitson said.
"To show love to other veterans at this stage in our lives -- I'm 67 -- it helps to heal," he said. "This garden avails us to that healing."
The granite monuments, each featuring an image representing a different war, are arrayed around a stone courtyard east of the medical center's main hospital building.
A version of the 1851 painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" marks the Revolutionary War. A likeness of Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Patchogue native killed in Afghanistan, adorns the last slab -- a tribute to the "Global War on Terror."
Murphy's mother, Maureen Murphy, stood before the monument Friday, her reflection merging with the etched image of her son.
An employee at the medical center, she said the memorial offers visitors a place for quiet reflection.
"It means a lot," she said. "It's nice to have a place to take a few moments to think of them. These are good men, all of them."