Reporting Mona Rivera
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An important part of World War II history on Long Island has been saved from the wrecking ball.
Congressman Steve Israel and Sen. Charles Schumer announced Monday that the historic hangar at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport has been saved from certain demolition from the Federal Aviation Administration’s runway safety program.
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“We welded, we assembled, we riveted, we engineered, we researched, we developed, we built the weapon systems that won World War II and then we went on to win the Cold War right from here,” Israel said.
The FAA will be able to use federal funds to move the structure to another location on the airport property.
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“We have won the war to keep the American Airpower Museum where it belongs,” Schumer said.
Israel said victory in World War II began here and that history will now be preserved.
“We will not demolish history on Long Island,” Israel said.
Josephine Rachiele, who was an original Rosie the Riveter, said it is “wonderful” that the museum has been saved.
Among her many cherished memories, the 87-year-old, of Lindenhurst, remembered dancing in the hangar when Tommy Dorsey performed two shows there during the war.
The museum features several dozen vintage aircraft and plays host throughout the year to various tributes honoring veterans. On Pearl Harbor Day, planes leave Republic and fly over the Statue of Liberty, dropping flowers in remembrance.
It’s estimated that 40,000 people visit the museum every year.