Long Island moms push for banners to honor military veterans

BABYLON, Long Island (WABC) -- Two moms from Long Island with teenage sons in the military are campaigning for their town to go public with their salute to those serving.

Jeanine Walther and Carolyn Mormino are trying to get banners displayed through the Town of Babylon in Suffolk County with the names and faces of locals serving in the military.

The town has 10 different hamlets and no shortage of patriotism, but Walther --whose 19-year-old son Travis is in the U.S Navy -- was inspired when she passed through the town of Jim Thorpe, one of several communities in Pennsylvania now lining their streets with banners showing photos of their hometown military heroes, past and present.

"My heart just swelled with pride," she said. "I felt nostalgic. I felt a longing for my son to be back home."

And so she and others began to feel out the idea on Facebook.

"Overwhelming support, people wanted to know how they could get a banner of their child," Mormino said.

And it turned out there was at least one Long Island community with these banners already. Lynbrook Village started its veterans banners program last year, and Mayor Alan Beach said he first saw them upstate in Troy.

"And the orders just keep coming," he said. "It's really very impressive, just what I was hoping for."

Babylon Town officials say they're on board, though they still need to iron out the details.

"In New York state, we have the greatest concentration of veterans here on Long Island," Council member Jackie Gordon said.

In Lynbrook, residents who want their veterans on a banner pay $175 apiece. That includes the mayor, whose father-in-law and dad share a pole.

"You know, my dad walked across Europe," Beach said. "So it means a lot."

It's a comfort, he says, but also gratitude for service and sacrifice.

Channel 7 is proud to be the home for the New York City Veterans Day Parade. Watch it live Monday at noon.


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