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Passive Park Dedicated to Vietnam Hero
Dennis Murray

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By Carla Santella

Courtesy of Glen Cove Record -Pilot


The sun had trouble coming out, but hearts and souls were warmed on Saturday, Oct. 4 as Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp, representing the City of Glen Cove, dedicated Dennis Brian Murray Park on Leech Circle to honor the memory of a young boy who spent many years playing in the area before growing into a young man who would give his life for his country in June of 1969 in a little village in Vietnam.

At the dedication of Dennis B. Murray Park are (l-r) City Council members Charles Lavine, Michael Norman, Tony Jimenez, Joan Meehan, Joe Gioino, Shawn Murray, Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp, Gen Murray, Berj Manoushagian, Ani Manoushagian, Carol (Murray) Bonanza, Bobby Bonanza and Paul Masi. Photo by D.E. Russell
Dennis (center front), Berj (left) and a couple of their buddies from the 196th Brigade, F Troop, 17th Cavalry.

Gen Murray, Dennis' mother, still lives in the house around the corner where she raised her children. Her daughter Carol still lives in Glen Cove with her family and son Shawn and family live not far away in Hicksville. The family gathered with many friends, relatives, neighbors, elected officials, and a great number of men and women representing not only Vietnam veterans, but veterans of many wars and many branches of military service.

Mayor Holzkamp welcomed the gathering to the park that had its beginnings in a donation of a playground by Friends Academy and a suggestion by Angelo Capobianco, the city's military historian, to name it for Dennis. After Father Tom Costa, pastor of St. Patrick's Church, offered a blessing, the mayor introduced guest speakers who included family and friends of Dennis: old friends, friends who became family, comrades in arms, friends who just met the family. Bobby Bonanza is married to Carol Murray, making him Dennis' brother-in-law. He also is president of Local 66 General Building and Laborers Union, which, along with Local 138 Operating Engineers had dozens of volunteers ready and willing to donate time, skills and material to make this park become a reality. Jimmy Brazil and his wife Gail presented a photo album to Mrs. Murray; while Jimmy spent hours working on the park's restoration, he also took pictures, and the photo album showed the transformation from the pit to the park. Paul Masi, president of the Nassau County Vietnam Vets of America, Chapter 83 came in Marine dress blues to praise a fallen comrade. A presentation from the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club International was made by Jim McGunnugle, while City Councilman Tony Jimenez, a Vietnam vet who volunteered in 1970 and served with the US Army First Air Cavalry gave Mrs. Murray a bouquet of brilliant red roses.

Arguably the most touching moment came when Berj Manoushagian stood to speak. Mr. Manoushagian became close friends with Dennis Murray when they served together in Vietnam and was with Dennis the day he was killed when his vehicle hit a landmine. Mr Manoushagian stripped off the years as he spoke of finding his friend dead, and the anger which caused him to "rip up a greeting card from his wife," caught up in the emotion of the moment. The day in Glen Cove allowed him to speak with pride through tears; pride at knowing that Dennis did not die in vain, and will be remembered in his hometown for the hero he is, and tears at what he called the "blessing" of having the opportunity to finally meet his buddy's family. After more than 30 years, he has finally gotten to talk to Dennis' siblings, to hold Dennis' mother, to cry together. One more bit of closure.

The military ceremony was coordinated by Donald J. Albin, Jr., himself a Vietnam vet. Military personnel stood at attention in uniforms representative of different branches of military service. A wreath was laid at the monument bearing Dennis' name and tribute. Cannon fire was followed by a 21-gun salute. Boy Scout buglers Tyler Ravener and George Weck played Taps in traditional echo. And Bob Lynch played Amazing Grace with his own amazing grace on the bagpipes.


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Dennis Murray with some of F troops  dogs.

Bob Decker
F Trp 17th Cav Home Page.