The Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce president Eileen Tyznar, Smith-Wever...

The Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce president Eileen Tyznar, Smith-Wever Post Commander David Isaacs at Sparrow Park, where two new war memorials will be placed. Credit: Randee Daddona

The Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce is raising money to fund two new war memorials, which they plan to unveil at the Sayville Memorial Day Parade in May. 

The memorials will pay tribute to the veterans of the Iraq and Gulf wars and be made public in Sparrow Park at 11 a.m. on May 30, chamber president Eileen Tyznar told Newsday. The park already has a monument spotlighting veterans from other wars, and Tyznar said community members would like to see the memorials expanded to commend the courage and bravery of veterans of more recent wars. Just weeks after launching the fundraiser on social media, the chamber has nearly reached its $5,000 goal.

“It’s going to be beautiful to see [how] all of our people who have served in either of those wars are finally represented, and it’s long overdue,” Tyznar said last week. She said the chamber is raising the funds on behalf of the American Legion Smith-Wever Post #651 in Sayville. 

Not only are donors contributing money, they’re also sharing stories about veterans in their life, Tyznar said. While the community’s interest spurred her to launch the project, she said she also feels a personal responsibility in honoring veterans. Her uncle, who fought in the Vietnam War, was killed just weeks before returning home to Wantagh, she said.

“We finally feel like there’s going to be a home for them,” Tyznar said of the hamlet’s veterans. The park "will be representative of all the wars that people have fought for us.” According to the 2020 U.S. Census, an estimated 11,000 veterans live in Islip Town. 

Smith-Wever Post Commander David Isaacs, a Marine who served during the Cold War, called the proposed memorials “a time capsule of honor.” They will give veterans and their loved ones an opportunity to reflect on their service and can serve as part of their healing process, he said. 

The addition will be a reminder that “no veteran is forgotten,” he said. 

The chamber plans to submit the proposal to the town this month, which will have to be approved by the town board. Councilman John Cochrane Jr., a Gulf War Navy veteran who heads the town’s veterans advisory board, signaled his support of the project and said he plans to recommend its approval. 

“Any time you can promote our men and women that serve this country in different conflicts and wars, it’s a positive thing for those veterans,” he said. “It goes back to the community, because as the community erects a monument like that, it makes them feel good about the men and women who went out and served this great country.”

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