America’s largest township, the Town of Hempstead (Long Island, NY) with over 760,000 residents, has joined with the Franklin Square Civic Association to remember the more than 535,000 USA fatalities from Covid-19. Throughout the month of April, the Town, along with the Franklin Square Civic Association (FSCA), requested that residents display electric candles in their windows, as expressions of solidarity to memorialize those we lost. The initiative was started by FSCA members Deborah and Robert Salant. Deborah is a member of the General Ebenezer Learned DAR Chapter of Oxford, MA. She is the direct great granddaughter of General Learned and lives in Franklin Square on Long Island.
According to Deborah Salant, “We wanted to do something symbolic to honor victims of this pandemic, while showing our compassion and concern for those who lost loved ones to the Coronavirus.” So Deborah asked the FSCA to inquire whether the association could contact their membership and lobby local elected officials to partner in a coordinated public outreach effort. As a result of Deborah’s request, Frank Culmone, FSCA treasurer, contacted the association’s membership and also sent the following communication to local public officials on March 15, 2021:
“To Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Donald X. Clavin,This past year has been difficult for so many people and we appreciate what both our local governments have done promoting safety, providing PPE equipment, and helping businesses stay open.
As suggested by our members Deborah and Robert Salant, that out of respect for the 500,000-plus USA COVID-19 fatalities and their families, we asked our members and through social media, we asked Franklin Square’s Facebook Community to put an electric candle in their window during the month of April as a remembrance of those lost.
The FSCA is encouraging this idea to show respect and solidarity in our community. This should not just be a Franklin Square tribute honoring those lives lost, but a Town of Hempstead and Nassau County tribute. We ask that if you can, please encourage the rest of our town and county residents to take part in honoring those lives lost, during the month of April.
The Officers and Directors of the Franklin Square Civic Association, Inc.”
In response, the Town of Hempstead published a message and a candle photograph on the Town’s Facebook page, plus on their Twitter page, publicizing Deborah’s Candles in the Window program.
Deborah was honored to learn from Helen Poirier, Regent of the Oxford DAR Chapter named after her great grandfather, that her Chapter would submit her story about Candles in the Window to National’s Daughters Of The American Revolution Newsletter. Her ultimate goal is to have DAR local, State and National organizations publicize the Candles in the Window concept across our nation. For more information, Deborah Salant can be reached at (516) 328-3959 or email@example.com.