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Statue of World War I doughboy to come to Babylon

Babylon Old Town Hall is a national historic

Babylon Old Town Hall is a national historic landmark on Aug. 17, 2011. Credit: T.C. McCarthy

The Town of Babylon has commissioned a statue of a doughboy -- a term used to describe soldiers and Marines from World War I -- to be placed in a veterans' memorial in Copiague.

The granite statue, which is being created by Wellwood Memorials Inc. in Lindenhurst, will be placed at the corner of Great Neck Road and Marconi Boulevard. There is currently an American flag and small veterans memorial at the site.

"The way we live now, there's a war going on in another part of the world and we just go on business as usual," said town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve who heads the town's Veteran's Advisory Council. "The hope is to bring awareness of the veterans and the sacrifices they and their families make."

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. The origins of the term doughboy are unclear. One legend dates to the Mexican-American War, when soldiers were often seen covered with chalky dust emanating from the dry terrain of northern Mexico. It is said the men looked like unbaked dough, thus the nickname.

The town originally sought to buy a doughboy statue that was outside a town business but the owner was asking for too much money, Gordon said. Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) secured $25,000 in state funding, Gordon said, and the town commissioned its own statue, which will cost $18,750. Gordon said they will use the remainder of the funds for plantings and fencing around the memorial.

Gordon said the statue should be completed in the fall.

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