Members of the Howard Lathrop Post 2307 on Merrick Road in Lynbrook, along with veterans from other organizations, hosted a public forum last Friday to address and clear up “misunderstandings” surrounding the veterans, the local school district, and the upcoming Memorial Day parade.
Speaking on behalf of the village of Lynbrook, Mayor Bill Hendrick said, “We represent everybody in Lynbrook, and this situation has really gotten out of control … I think [a school board member] using the words ‘bullying’ or ‘hostage’ were very ill-chosen words, since some of our veterans were hostages.”
Hendrick sat on a panel that included Post Commander Kevin Canty, parade committee coordinator and past-commander Pat Cardone, Lynbrook School District Assistant Superintendent for Finance Paul Lynch and other veterans.
Hendrick was referring to a Herald report of a Lynbrook Board of Education budget and regular meeting on May 7 where board members and all school district administrators who were not invited to the Memorial Day parade by Cardone because of a previous decision by the board not to pass a veterans’ tax exemption. On May 12, the board discussed the possibility of not allowing the students to march as well.
The board recently decided that they would, in fact, allow the students to march and perform in the parade on May 26.
School board trustee Bill Belmont attended the meeting at the VFW in an unofficially capacity, but said that he could not represent the school board. But he did speak to the veterans and those in attendance.
One veteran in the audience said that is wasn’t so much the denial of the exemption, but rather how they were shut down from speaking publically when they attending a May 12 school board meeting.
“We were not belligerent or unruly,” he said. “…We were told that we were out of order by [school board president] Alicemarie Bresnihan, and that we couldn’t continue speaking.”