What an honor for us to Spotlight the
CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS
from Lake Ronkonkoma on Saturday August 23, 2014.
The turnout was fantastic, and the weather was agreeable.
The event began with the Proclamation of the SIXTH Historic Landmark of Lake Ronkonkoma, the Lakeville Cemetery (now known as the Lake Ronkonkoma Cemetery). The Landmark was made known by Legislature Tom Muratore.
It has taken its place of honor at the east fence and will stand with honor and respect for many years. Leg. Muratore has a personal interest in Lake Ronkonkoma, having lived here with his wife for over 40 years. Our vision of Landmarks and a great town are shared with him.
But now we will discuss the TEN Civil War Soldiers that we honored that day. In preparation for the event, poisin ivy and weeds that had grown maybe for 150 years was cleared, gravestones were scrubbed and shinned, flower memorials were made, and American Flags were gathered in their honor. As the morning began we were notified that there were three more soldiers right here as we entered the gate! We included them in our thoughts and prayers, but will need to research and place markers for them as well.
With much enthusiasm and good will, we contacted many of our associates and friends who would also like to honor the soldiers.
American Legion #155, as always, was there with their support and information. Beginning their own remodeling project at the Legion Hall, they were busy. But never too busy for their fallen comrades and Lake Ronkonkoma. The large turnout of members present to honor their Civil War Veterans was impressive.
Our Local CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS were Celebrated with Living History by the Award Winning at Old Bethpage Restoration Village
“Company H 119 NY Volunteer Infantry” (shown above) Wearing Uniforms, carrying rifles and supplies, they marched the Cemetery again and again, explaining facts, giving information and respecting the fallen soldiers who were buried so long ago.
Chris Schnupp, Civil War expert and Author, took his place by assembling a table with information and other artifacts. He reflected on the life of our Captain Carmick, who was killed in action and bought home to his final resting place by his dear mother.
Commerdinger County Park Preservation Society was represented by many of their members, but Paul Albert proudly wore a Union uniform and spoke to our guests about Captain McCormick. Although born in Michigan, he choose to settle here in Lake Ronkonkoma as a friend of Miss Maude Adams. The vast amount of history and authenitic information that was displayed for Captain McCormick was impressive.
Other soldiers were spoken for by LR Heritage members and knowledgeable folks.
Although we were concentrating on the Civil War soldiers, it came to be quite an extraordinary day as so many new friends and old neighbors we never met united at graves of loved ones and spoke to one another about them. G. Allen Okvist was a help to many questions, as he recalled so many residents from his childhood and was able to add information. Jo Molinari & Helen Mulvihill also added to the answers.
Much can be said of us Lake Ronkonkoma Heritage Association members, but when we unite for a project, we unite. Most male members wore the Union Artillery uniform, which was a red shirt, suspenders and Union hat. Handsome as ever, our guys! Most woman wore an appropriate Civil War era dress.
Happy are we that Denise Schwarz, President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Greater Ronkonkomas, was present and in proper attire--yes, she wore, and very well we might add, the Civil War Soldiers uniform. Her undying enthusiasm and support of our cause makes her a declarated soldier at that!
Jo Molinari, the very first recipient of the LAKE RONKONKOMA CITIZEN OF THE YEAR, 2014, as Proclaimed by the OWLS (Only Want Lake Ronkonkoma Success) was present and beaming in her period clothes. Her help, determination and high standards beam from her every word, and added to the event.
Helen Hethy Mulvihill, the recipient of the Woman of Distinction in the Fourth Legislative District Suffolk County 2013, was available behind the scenes where countless hours of research, visits and brainstorming and at the event. Once again, to have such knowledge of our Cemetery and Lake Ronkonkoma brings success to all.
Reaching out to G. Allen Okvist and Marjorie Vollgraff Raynor has become a normal occurance for us. Both are born and raised in Lake Ronkkoma, and both insist on nothing but integrity and truth as we Proclaim the Landmarks that they have grown accustomed to. We are constantly reminded that we must promise to maintain the high standards as we research the landmarks. They were done with high intentions and love for our town, and must be remembered in that manner.
Steve Lantz, our fantastic wood craftsman, constructs every sign from Brazilian Mahogany. His personal touch to every Landmark sign follows through from the construction to the actual posting them into the ground. Without him the message would not continue to the public.
Michelle Okvist, the LR Heritage Media Coorindater, has maintained her position by introducing news coverage, television documentaries and public recognition.
Ashley Okvist, the LR Heritage member expressed her assistance with the fine details and extra eyes that any organization needs.
Other members who can not go unnoticed are Fran Okvist & Kenneth Okvist who completed the lovely memorial wreaths on each grave; Dee Gibbons, our charter member who is always there for inspiration and revitalization; and all the other members who help when they can and work behind the scenes as we prepare for the future.
The VFW, led by Andres E. Veiga were present for support and to honor fellow fallen soldiers from the Civil War.
Please accept our apologies if we have not mentioned every name that worked to make this a success. And thank you to all of our citizens who made it their goal to attend the festivities that day.