Town commemorates veterans’ service at reception celebrating American Legion, new exhibit

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Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso speak with members of the American Legion Post 304 in front of the new exhibit at Manhasset Public Library. (Photo by Teri West)

As soon as Anthony Buzzitta graduated from the New York University College of Dentistry in 1963, he was drafted into the U.S. military. For two hectic years at Fort Benning, Georgia, he provided dental service to thousands of men during the Vietnam War.

On Saturday he gathered with fellow members of the American Legion Post 304 at the Manhasset Public Library to celebrate a new exhibit commemorating their service and 90 years of the post, a chapter of the nationwide veterans organization.

J. Paul Vista, deputy director of the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency, presented a citation to veterans decked in American flag ties and “304” caps decorated with patches and titles.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth gave the chapter a proclamation from the Town of North Hempstead.

“This is an amazing group of men and women, who are part of the auxiliary, who work so hard to advocate for veterans issues and to stand up for these veterans,” Bosworth said. “These posts are so important so it’s wonderful to be here to support it.”

Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso also attended and addressed the veterans.

When Buzzitta, who has lived in Manhasset for 50 years, joined the Manhasset American Legion post 20 year ago there were more World War II veterans. Now, most members served in Vietnam.

He hopes that the exhibit will make library visitors stop and think about something typically not on their minds.

“We hope people appreciate what the veterans did for this country,” Buzzitta said. “Unfortunately not many people from Great Neck and Manhasset serve in the military. Most people have no experience with the military.”

The exhibit, in a glass display case in the library’s entryway, includes uniforms, documents, honors and a model display of miniature soldiers. It will be present through the end of the year.

The library has also curated a related display of books and media.

Maggie Gough, the library’s director, emphasized that the exhibit represents an important, living part of the Manhasset.

“We don’t want to become just a museum here of unnecessary artifacts,” she said. “We really want to be a vibrant vital source of information and points of exploration for the community.”

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