It can be said that while Broad Channel’s annual Historical Day offers a chance to revisit history, it seldom recreates it outright.
This year was different, however, as the Historical Society of the Broad Channel Civic Association unveiled a replica of its Honor Roll, a sign listing the names of all Broad Channel residents who served during World War II.
The sign long stood on Cross Bay Boulevard, said Barbara Toborg, the historical society chair, but no one now knows where it went.
“It’s not an exact copy,” she said, noting the society added the dates of death for soldiers killed in action, as well as lists of Broad Channel servicemen who fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
“This is our prize possession here,” said society member Dan Mundy, noting the society made copies for itself, the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter and the American Legion. “It’s a wonderful thing.”
Mundy’s brother Bill Mundy, a World War II veteran, has reason to agree since his name is on the sign.
“I’m looking at it and I see the names of so many guys I knew,” he said. “It brings you back in history a little bit.”
Bill Mundy, 83, served in a Navy carrier aircraft service unit, repairing fighters and dive bombers damaged in combat when their ships steamed into harbor.
“I was a kid, nothing bothered you,” he said, noting the war experience for him took place in repair units within various harbors in the Pacific rather than in actual combat. “From day to day, it just went on.”
Historical Day also enables Broad Channel residents to meet with fellow amateur historians, browse through the society’s extensive collection of photographs, news articles and personal reminiscences, and help to complete descriptions for photographs contributed by the public.
This year’s event brought out a pair of newly famous Broad Channel residents. Dan and Liz Guarino recently made headlines in several newspapers for publishing their photographic history of Broad Channel. They were on hand to sign copies of their book.
“I’ve been coming down for a few years to show my photography,” Dan Guarino said of the annual event. “As these Historical Days have gone on, more people get drawn in.”
Liz Guarino said Broad Channel’s sleepy, small−town feeling belies some exciting historical facts.
“During Prohibition, rum runners used the area,” she said. “There were five or six speakeasies here.”
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2008 Community News Group
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