Members of the American Legion Post 338 in Sag Harbor unveiled a plaque on Veterans Day to honor all residents of the hamlet who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
The wooden plaque was built by American Legion member Chuck Lattanzio and features 323 names of Sag Harbor residents. The idea for the plaque was pitched by American Legion Commander David Pharaoh who got approval from the American Legion’s board of directors to have it built. Mr. Lattanzio, who has been with the Legion for five years and served in the Navy from 1961 to 1965, then volunteered to build and pay for the plaque.
“We did a renovation on the American Legion last year and in the process, our commander came up with the idea to do this,” Mr. Lattanzio said. “I was running the renovation job and was glad to do it. I joined the Legion to give back a little. It was a pleasure.”
“He made a mock-up first and he had the mock-up done within a week, first week of April,” Mr. Pharaoh said. “By the first week of May, he had the plaque ready. So we went out looking for name plates. We ordered different sizes to see what fit the best.”
Even after choosing appropriate size name plates, Mr. Lattanzio added two additional wings to the plaque to add 20 more names as the names of additional people who served are still being discovered and will be added to the plaque as they come in. The names were researched and collected by Mr. Pharaoh and Paul Gerecke, the Legion’s financial officer. The veterans’ names were organized by family relation to group them together on the larger plaque.
The American Legion honored Mr. Lattanzio for his work at its annual Veterans Day dinner on November 11 by unveiling the plaque, making him a lifetime member of the Legion, and presenting him with $1,000 worth of gift certificates.
“It’s a history lesson for us, because there’s a lot of characters on this board that fit into the Sag Harbor fiber,” Mr. Pharaoh said.