November 8, 2013

‘Bedford Hills at War’ exhibit at museum

We all know about the “greatest generation,” the term coined by Pound Ridger Tom Brokaw to describe the generation that grew up and served our nation at the time of World War II.

Alas, we recognize that we are losing many of those who served in Europe and Asia from 1941 to 1945. Perhaps that is what made the government shutdown and the closing of the World War II monument in Washington, D.C., all the more tragic and politically charged.

This Veteran’s Day, Monday, Nov. 11, we offer a special salute to these men and women. On a local level, their dwindling numbers hit particularly hard, as those who can share their stories and their memories of this unique time in American history are being lost forever. This month, we saw the death of two local World War II veterans. Donald M. Stroffolino, 87, a lifelong resident of Bedford Hills, died on Oct. 22. Mr. Stroffolino was a graduate of Bedford Hills High School and a U.S. Navy veteran as well as a member of the Bedford Hills Volunteer Fire Department and the American Legion.

John Joseph “Jack” Scollay, age 88, a former Pound Ridger, died on Oct. 14. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in both World War II and the Korean War, earning the rank of captain. Mr. Scollay boasted a legacy that went well beyond military service into a different form of posterity. As a copywriter at the J. Walter Thompson Agency, he authored the advertising campaign: “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

The voices of men like Mr. Stroffolino and Mr. Scollay live on for future generations. Last Saturday, the ongoing exhibit at the Bedford Hills Historical Museum welcomed Dominick Carone, a 91-year-old former Bedford Hills resident who served with valor in World War II. He was one of the heroes of the Third Regiment launched to storm the German strongholds on D-Day, 1944. George Pouder, 90, another veteran, was in attendance. He enthralled the audience with his tales of the capture of Nuremberg and Munich as a member of the combat engineers’ 42nd Division and of the team that liberated the Dachau concentration camp.

Along with these reminiscences, the museum’s exhibit not only pays tribute to the soldiers but provides a social history of our nation in wartime. “Bedford Hills at War” traces the history of Bedford Hills’ veterans who served in World War I and II and shares their heroic stories, maps, memorabilia, timelines, uniforms and more. The exhibit also offers a glimpse of was taking place in Bedford Hills during the war. Local residents contributed to the effort by growing victory gardens, participating in rations of food and material, engaging in practice drills and purchasing war bonds. Dozens of local women served as Red Cross volunteers, helping to tend the wounded. A monument at the Community House honors World War I veterans; after World War II,  a new monument was dedicated on the corner of Depot Plaza and Buxton Road. The monument stands today and now includes veterans of Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm.

Veterans Day is observed starting precisely at 11 a.m. on 11/11 with the laying of a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At Katonah’s Lawrence Circle, located at Woods Bridge Road and the Parkway, the American Legion Post 1575 will be standing at attention from 10:30 a.m. to about noon. Please pay your respects.

The Bedford Hills Historical Museum is located in the Bedford town house at 321 Bedford Road and open Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, call the museum at 864-2097.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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