They’ve laid down their lives for our communities and our country, and on Monday, June 4, police officers and retired servicemen were honored for their service in Nassau County and abroad during a ceremony at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
Current Nassau County police officers in full uniform filled rows of chairs alongside retired servicemen from foreign wars—some dressed in uniforms from years past, while others wore suits and donned “veteran” baseball caps. The event was hosted by Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick J. Ryder, in conjunction with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
Curran made the opening remarks to the audience of more than 200 veterans and their families.
“To those of you who we are honoring, you are the manifestation of public service,” she said. “You have served—and in some cases are still serving—in our military, keeping us safe and also, you have worked so hard to keep us safe here in Nassau County. You are the reason why this is such a fantastic place to live, has been for decades and will continue to be.”
Ryder supported Curran’s sentiment in his own welcome address.
“Not only do you serve a police department and a county every single day, but then the call, and the bell rings and you go overseas and miss your family for nine months to a year and you serve this country, and then you come back and you serve this county again,” he said.
Detective Lt. Richard Lebrun welcomed veterans to the stage to receive their awards, each having his or her name, branch of service and rank called. All of the servicemen and women were met with cheers and applause, many having children, spouses and other family members greeting them for a picture as they exited the stage.
Hodge Begis, an NCPD lieutenant from Seaford, said he initially didn’t want to attend the ceremony because he likes to fly under the radar. But his wife convinced him he should go.
“When you serve, it teaches you a lot of intangibles, a lot of things you can’t write down on a resume, but you take them with you for the rest of your life,” Begis said.
Department Chaplain Rabbi Dr. Barry Dov Schwartz took to the stage following the announcement of the names, speaking his words of gratitude and respect before leading a prayer.
“We are all in this together: policemen, policewomen, soldiers, veterans and all who work to defend our country,” he said. “You are our heroes. Today we gather to pay tribute to those that served in the military and those who presently serve in the Nassau County Police Department.”