Veterans from all across Long Island were honored and thanked for their service at the second annual “Concert Under the Stars: A Salute to America’s Heroes,” at the Long Island State Veterans Home (LISVH) at Stony Brook University. More than 2,000 veterans, families and friends came to share in the free patriotic music performed by the West Point Jazz Knights at the June 27 event, including 75 residents of the LISVH. The concert was created as way to recognize the large population of veterans in Nassau and Suffolk.
“Hosting the Concert Under the Stars with the West Point Jazz Knights allowed us to bring together several generations of veterans — from the greatest to the latest — for a wonderful evening to recognize and celebrate their service to our country,” said Fred Sganga, Executive Director of the Long Island State Veterans Home. Wearing their traditional cadet uniforms, the nationally acclaimed Jazz Knights gave a 90-minute performance, and featured a musical tribute to each era of veterans, starting with WWII. The upbeat music lifted the spirits of the service men and women. “One Vietnam veteran I spoke with thanked us for remembering him,” said Jonathan Spier, Associate Administrator at the LISVH. “The veterans really appreciated being acknowledged.” In their finale, the Jazz Knights performed a song for each of the five branches of service.
The Paul J. Gelinas Junior High School Jazz Band was invited to open the Concert Under the Stars. Their 32-piece band was lead by Mark Portugal, and supported by friends and families of the students. Other community members in attendance were residents of The Arbors Assisted Living, who arrived on four buses. Local radio station B103 also was on hand to entertain the crowd with trivia contests and raffles. After the concert, the audience was treated to a colorful patriotic laser light show, as symbolic images of Americana illuminated a 60 x 60-foot screen.
Since opening is doors in 1991, the Long Island State Veterans Home has provided care to more than 6,000 of Long Island’s veterans. The LISVH residents live in a 350-bed skilled nursing facility located on 25 wooded acres. An Adult Day Health Care program that operates 6 days per week (Monday through Saturday) is also offered.
The LISVH is operated under the auspices of Stony Brook Medicine and continues to be one of the only skilled nursing centers and adult day health care programs in the country that is fully integrated into the health and educational mission of a major academic medical center. The programs at the LISVH are certified by the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
— Joan Dickinson