Purple Heart Day returned to Island Park as Hope’s Land of Candy honored veterans and celebrated its fifth anniversary.
The candy shop opened on July 29, 2014, and Purple Heart Day falls on Aug. 7 every year. To recognize both, storeowner Joan Cohen has hosted the Purple Heart event for three years now.
“People that come love it,” she said. “The weather was beautiful. We got a lot of positive feedback.”
The Bethpage-based Museum of American Armor displayed five army Jeeps and a World War II-era armored car outside the store in the afternoon. About 15 World War II re-enactors accompanied the vehicles, which were used for reconnaissance and infantry support during the war. In addition, Purple Heart recipients attended and spoke about their experiences.
Families attended with kids, who waved small American flags and got their faces painted at the candy store. They also admired the Jeeps and learned from the veterans.
“It’s great to see the kids wave the flags and have a really good time enjoying some history,” Cohen said.
The event also featured a collection of donations for the Purple Heart Foundation and the Museum of American Armor.
“We thought it was important to honor soldiers wounded or killed to pay honor to their service,” Cohen said. “I’d like to thank the museum, the Purple Heart Foundation, the veterans, the politicians who spoke and, especially, the Purple Heart recipients who shared their stories.”