The Gus Scutari Challenge Coin

Photo of Gus Scutari Challenge Coin by Katheryn Laible

Thank You Gus

I always mention Gus Scutari on Memorial Day as coordinating that parade down Jackson Avenue in Syosset was very important to him. It was also how most of the broader community got to know him. Maybe, though, the 4th of July is an even better time to talk about him.

Here is the story I was blessed to write with Gus. I share it often because I think what Gus had to say was important, that the impact he had on people was incredibly positive, and that his brand of patriotism is among those I most deeply appreciate. I also find that, the more I read those words, which are mostly his, the more I learn.

Gus was friendly, and witty. He knew how to have a good time, and how to make other people feel seen and heard. He felt very strongly about the American Flag, and honoring our Nation’s Veterans. At the same time, his patriotism was very personal. Gus cared about the big systems and decisions, for sure, but what he really emphasized was the importance of the individual; the everyday choices we make as citizens, and the idea that America will only ever be as good as we, its people, will.

Gus wanted folks to give it their best and to think for themselves. He wanted people to be good to each together. Mostly, he wanted us to give it our best to be worthy of so many who give so much, and to let the world know that most of the folks he met in this life seemed to agree. For this, he was deeply thankful.

From an event honoring local champion of veterans Gus Scutari in 2016

Honoring Good Citizenship

I wrote recently about Max becoming an Eagle Scout. One of the things a parent is instructed to do when their child earns this honor is to alert all the localities’ elected officials and other key civic associations, all the way up to the President and whomever else, that someone has basically just earned a degree in good citizenship. Everyone has their own way of responding and you end up with this pile of certificates that I find fascinating.

By far, the most meaningful token came from the local VFW, Post No. 6394, recently named the “Gus Scutari” Post in Syosset: A Gus Scutari Challenge Coin. This coin speaks not only to who Gus was as a person, but to the impact he had on those around him; an impact perhaps most directly illustrated in this very endeavor by our local veterans to imbue Gus’ joyful, earnest civic spirit in others. It’s what Gus did himself, after all, for so many years with whomever caught his eye and returned his friendly smile.

In addition to his nickname, “Mr. Memorial Day,” Gus was also the “Americanism Chairman of Nassau County.” A proud booster of the Scouts, he attended ALL local Eagle Ceremonies. He was known for his entertaining, thoughtful speeches, and for his way of pinning a US flag on the kid’s chest as a badge of good citizenship and a reminder to keep it up.

I don’t think Gus ever left the house without his VFW hat. He was known as a WWII hero, though he’d tell you over and again, he got lucky. When he told the Vietnam Veterans and so many others that their own service was at least as honorable, thank you for doing the best you could figure how, it meant a very great deal. Every Memorial Day, Gus encouraged folks to make the best of things; to be good citizens worthy of the fact that young people give their lives for them. Gus was a great booster for both the VFW and the American Legion in Syosset and beyond. Moreover, he was an incredible ambassador and a proud, responsible member of the United States. If you asked, many who knew of him would tell you that Gus was The Community Spirit of Syosset, if not America herself.

Because it’s up to US

Gus advanced the Patriot Pen and Voice of America Scholarship Programs and would regularly talk to young and old alike about history and current events, honoring people for their service and asking folks to think about things and consider what it is best We the People do.

Why? Because the basic message from Gus is that we have the freedom to make what we will of this Nation, and that, yes, the grand actions of leaders and heroes are important, but it’s how everyday people choose to conduct themselves that makes a difference, and that sometimes it may seem like a crazy thing to do, but doing the right thing seems to work out pretty well most of the time. Even when it doesn’t, it’s still the right thing to do.

It was an honor for Max to receive this coin, and I am blessed that he shares it with me and that together we can offer it to you. May we go on out there, try to stand up straight and make the best of whatever life hands us. May we take it at least as well as we give it, give it our best to be decent and honorable, and remember, whatever happens, to laugh.

May God Bless America.

 

Solo Show at the Firefly: “Untethered” by Drigo Morin

“Untethered: Celebrating Our Return to the Moon” A solo show by Drigo Morin. Thank you, Chris Yee for the Exhibition Postcard!

Check out this video of Firefly Drigo Morin, made by Firefly John Lazzaro. Drigo has a gift for portraiture and a passion for space exploration. He’s been working on this series on and off for years, with some really good pieces completed recently.

There will be a solo show “Untethered: Celebrating Our Return to the Moon”
Where: The Firefly Artists, 90 Main Street, Northport. 
Works will be on view July 1-16
A reception will be held July 11 from 7-9pm
 

This is going to be amazing!!!

 

About The Firefly

The Firefly was established in 2011 to create a gallery setting for local artists. The goal was to create a space where artists could meet, collaborate, and sell their beautiful creations.

Over more than a decade, we have had the great privilege of displaying a stunning variety of works by well over 400 artists through our Main Street locations and pop-up galleries. We boast extraordinary talent, while maintaining a very down to earth and supportive atmosphere that is unique on Long Island.

In 2020 we expanded our offerings, creating a “Darcy Arts Center” to feature special exhibitions and classes in addition to the rich selection of works by our resident artists. We are thrilled to continue to develop this in our beautiful new space, right in the center of everything! 

Every time you purchase something from The Firefly Artists you support at least two local artists. Come, experience our beautiful gallery. Bring home that perfect thing to brighten your world or someone else’s.

Thank you for your support.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and check our website for all the latest updates. Even better, come to our beautiful location, The Old Hardware Store at 90 Main Street, Northport

***NEW SUMMER HOURS***
Mon-Tue 11am-6pm  
Wed-Fri 11am-9pm  
Sat 9am-9pm
Sun 9am-7pm

We Will Never Forget…

Photo of the WTC memorial lights by Colin Hopkins

We Will Never Forget… Photo of the WTC memorial lights by Colin Hopkins, Local 580 Iron Workers. Colin was on week three of work when the towers fell, a day when these folks and many others who never expected to be such, came to serve as first responders and who continued working at the site for weeks after the attack. Later, Colin was also among those present at work who got to witness the Freedom Spire rise…

We Will Never Forget…

Over the last two decades, we have learned a new rhythm….The end of summer comes, there is a flurry of activity about getting kids prepared for and off to school, and then, the moment all settles down the weight of solemn remembrance overshadows everything but the realization of how lucky we are to have that terrible event cast such a pall over our beings only once a year. Our hearts go out to so many others who lost so much…who experienced so much…who have since endured so much…

We remember the first puzzled and then stunned and horrified voices of the professionals whose job it is to tell us the bad news every day. We recall the images that replayed, the bells that rang, the world that all but stopped.

We remember the selfless bravery of firemen who went in where anyone in their “right mind” would be running out.

We remember the horrific loss of 2,977 innocent lives, including 343 of those firemen, 60 police officers and 8 EMTS. We remember the probability that anyone we encountered may have just lost someone dear. We remember how some of those who perished did so heroically apprehending hijackers and crashing their own plane.

Our hearts twist in the simultaneous gratitude for the miracle of how, despite intense confusion, so many lived to tell their tale or simply were not there.

We remember the people walking over the Brooklyn Bridge…covered in dust…the people being rescued from the end of Manhattan Island…the people desperately seeking people who would never be found.

We remember the school children who did not know. We remember the teachers who did, but could not tell them. We remember the beautiful day slowly overcast by those beautiful, yet terrible clouds. We remeber the taste. We remember the smell.

We remember the iron workers, the dock builders and the other hard working Long Islanders who heard of the disaster and raced to the scene to see if they could be of service. We remember those who spent weeks upon weeks shoveling through the twisted debris. We remember the price so many have paid for their commitment.

We remember being implored to go out and live. We remember being told it was patriotic to shop. We remember wishing there was something more meaningful to do. We remember Paul McCartney and the musicians he gathered to play for the world and those first responders. We remember Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick who were on Broadway as The Producers, and how they epitomized the notion that “the show must go on.”…how meaningful it was to simply carry on.

We remember the brave men and women who have been at war ever since that fateful day. We pray that they and all the others who bear intense burdens and indelible scars will be properly cared for. We pray for a peace that seems so very far away.

We look down at children, and now young adults, who never knew the days before then; who never wondered at those impossibly tall buildings but may have marveled at those even taller beams of light; who never felt that fateful day; who look at us in bewilderment at the ongoing challenges, both at home and abroad…who wish, sometimes loudly, other times in quiet sighs, that the adults of this world would finally grow up.

We remember the noble ideals that we stand for. We remember how innocent we were. We realize on how much has changed since then, including an explosion of communication that somehow seems to have opened chasms between good people of different perspectives, and tidal waves of information that seem to only muddy any sense we once had of the truth. We reflect on how much we still have to learn, and on how much we seem to have forgotten…

We remind ourselves that while the battle may rage on within our hearts and across this world, we must never let terror win. We must never let the blind hatred that enables it to win. We must overcome.

But how?

The words of many sages come to mind; visionaries and scholars of so many cultures and kinds. We keep coming back to the wisest ones; the ones who seem to have mattered the most…

Over and over they whisper from the ages the same small, powerful yet humble, healing, overcoming, uplifting light of a word…

And so…we reflect…on Love.

A 4th of July Reflection on US

The 4th of July honors the US Declaration of Independence. Its most well-known passage is the foundation upon which the colonists’ grievances were justified and a bold declaration of human rights…

Continue reading

Syosset Road Renamed in Honor of Gus Scutari

Photo of Gus Scutari and Eagle Scouts of Syosset Troop 205

Gus Scutari with Eagle Scouts from Troop 205 in 2019. Photo by Katheryn Laible

Today, a portion of Underhill Boulevard in Syosset was renamed in honor of one of Long Island’s most ardent champions of Americanism and good citizenship, the passionate organizer of the Syosset Memorial Day Parade, Gus Scutari.

You can read about it on the Nassau County NY webpage.

You can find images from the event taken by Gus’ friend, whom he smartly recruited to join the Syosset American Legion, Terri Squires on the Legion’s Facebook Page.

Gus passed away early this spring at the age of 99. Here is the piece we got to write with him: Gus Scutari: Syosset’s Humble Champion of Americanism. He had a number of interesting things to say that we are still thinking about.

He is dearly missed and greatly appreciated. Thank you, Gus.

Recent and Recently Updated Pieces From the Archives

We offer the following — Click each link to read the articles!

Down to Earth With the Synchronicity Network: Thanks for the Great Gardening Resources!!! Some of our favorites, including a few new ones!

Follow the Phoenix: Still They Rise. Obviously, we are very white and have our own point of view. The black community itself is far from a monolith in its thinking. We encourage you to read, listen and think for yourself. Here are some good resources to get started and for what it’s worth, some of our own humble thoughts.

The Adventures of Craig & Trudy, Chapter 3: Lessons in Community Trusteeship, The Huntington Township Chamber Foundation

A Man on a Mission: NYS Regent Roger Tilles. We got to sit down with him a million years ago last December, What he had to say seems even more relevant today…

How Shall We Rise? Reflection from the Holidays. How do we ensure that the damage being done by both the virus and its cure are not in vain? How do we use this experience to be better stewards of each other and this planet we share?

Get LI Counted! The Census Matters! The 2020 Census affects how much federal dollars our region will receive for the next decade. Long Island already pays a lot more in taxes to the Federal Government than it gets back. Undercounts make it worse. Plus, they impact all sorts of planning, at all levels. PLEASE GET COUNTED AND SHARE THIS ARTICLE EXPLAINING WHY,

Ultimate Feel-Good Story: Giving an LI Veteran a Home

Image of Fairway Home

We were first introduced to this endeavor to purchase and remodel a house in order to give it, mortgage-free, to a post-9/11 Purple Heart recipient by Rosemarie Kluepfel of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. and Daphna Adler of Interiors by Daphna Adler at a SCWBEC (Suffolk County Women’s Business Enterprise Coalition) meeting. Since then, we have become fully enamored with the merry band of designers, remodelers and others who have given so much to make this happen.

Continue reading