GARDEN CITY (11/08/2018) (readMedia)-- New York Army National Guard Soldiers join with veterans of the Army's famous 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division to present a memorial wreath on Friday morning, Nov. 9 at the World War I Rainbow Division Veterans Memorial here to honor the service of past 42nd Infantry Division Soldiers for Veterans Day.
The division headquarters traditionally presents the wreath each year at memorial sites to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the division's veterans of WWI, WWII and the Iraq War. 2017 marks the centennial of the division's birth for service in WWI.
The 42nd Infantry Division was created at Camp Mills, near present day Garden City.
The memorial wreath is provided by the Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation Memorials Committee. The foundation oversees dozens of memorial sites in the U.S. and Europe where 42nd Division Soldiers served. The division will also commemorate the past service of Medal of Honor recipient and former Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur who served in the Rainbow Division with a memorial wreath at his statue on the grounds of West Point. Two other wreaths will be placed at monuments located on Fort Drum, New York, and Fort Dix, New Jersey that mark the Rainbow Division's mobilization for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.
WHAT: Memorial wreath presentation at the memorial site in honor of Veterans Day.
WHO: New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Colin Stewart from Garden City, a member of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry that served in WWI with the Rainbow Division, presents the memorial wreath on behalf of the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division. Stewart will be joined by Cyril Smith, a Vietnam veteran and Garden City resident, who was instrumental in gaining village financial support for the monument's recent restoration.
In addition, two Doughboys from the LI Living History Association will add to the event, along with Garden City resident Gerry Whalen, who will provide bagpipes for the ceremony.
Whalen is the grandnephew of two veterans of the 69th Infantry from WWI. He plays with the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums band.
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 9 at noon.
WHERE: Rainbow Division World War I Memorial, Clinton Street and Commercial Blvd, Garden City, New York.
Media Opportunity: Visual of uniformed Soldier placing a memorial wreath at the site of the World War I mobilization training grounds at Camp Mills. Interviews with Soldiers about the significance of memorials during Veterans Day.
Rainbow Division WWI Memorial, Garden City, N.Y.
Located on a quarter-acre triangular plot of land, this monument is a fifteen by five foot obelisk of Alabama limestone. It stands across the street from what was the entrance to the 42nd Division's World War I training grounds at Camp Mills on the Hempstead Plains of Long Island. Inscribed on it are a lone bugler standing in a military cemetery, a list of the units that made up the Rainbow Division, the states they came from, and the names of the World War I campaigns in which they fought.
The monument was originally dedicated in 1941, rededicated in a 1997 and again in a 2005 ceremony, and recently restored for a commemoration of the 42nd Infantry Division's creation in 1917 in August.
Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation
The Rainbow Division Veterans Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to commemorating the deeds, sacrifices and traditions of the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division through memorials, education and the preservation of the history of the division.
Four Rainbow Division memorials commemorate the unit's birthplace and deployment preparations for war. One is here in Garden City, the site of the Camp Mills preparations for World War I, while the other is located at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, marking the site of the 42nd Infantry Division's mobilization for WWII. Additional memorials are located at Fort Drum, N.Y. and Fort Dix, N.J., the two training sites for the 42nd Infantry Division's mobilization and training for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
These memorials recognize the sacrifices of Rainbow Division Soldiers and their families from generation to generation.
The 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division
The 42nd Infantry Division, with headquarters in Troy, N.Y., has 14,000 Soldiers assigned to elements in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. The 42nd Infantry Division first organized in World War I from National Guard units from around the country.
The division's first chief-of-staff, then Col. Douglas MacArthur, said the division would stretch across the United States "like a rainbow" and the nickname stuck. In World War II the "Rainbow Division" landed in France and fought across Germany, taking several major cities, liberating the Dachau Concentration Camp, and occupying Vienna.
Following World War II the division became part of the New York National Guard. Division Soldiers responded to natural disasters, including the major ice storm of 1998, and responded when the World Trade Center was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. The 42nd Infantry Division became the first National Guard division headquarters to go to war since 1952 when Major General Joseph Taluto took charge of 23,000 Soldiers in North Central Iraq in 2005.