Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00
Floral Park couple among those who celebrated day of love
This Valentine’s Day, love was a many splendid thing for one Floral Park couple who renewed their wedding vows during a romantic ceremony performed by Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale.
Standing among a collection of vintage American aircrafts and fighter planes, a group of Nassau County GIs with compelling wartime love stories gathered together to renew their commitment to each other in front of a large crowd of friends and family.
“Our veterans have proved, time and time again, the commitment and love they have for our great nation,” Murray said. “It is therefore fitting that this Valentine’s Day, we focus on the love and commitment our veterans and their spouses have for one another.”
Gulf War Veteran Joe Reale, and his wife, Toni, have been married for nearly 40 years. Their love story began in 1971, when Joe simply needed a date for a military social at Fort Hamilton. Little did he know that date would become his future wife, Toni.
Toni, a former nurse, admits she was also not so impressed with Reale at first. However it wasn’t long before the two fell in love and got engaged on Christmas day in 1971. A few days later, Joe was called to a base in Oklahoma. The two lovebirds wrote letters and talked on the phone to keep in touch.
Joe said one of his most vivid memories is when Toni visited him while he was serving in the military. “She managed to cook a Sunday pasta dinner for a dozen people in the small kitchen and people kept telling me ‘you’re a lucky guy,’” Joe quipped.
Married on Dec. 16, 1972, the Reales have called the Village of Floral Park their home for 39 years. “Floral Park was a great choice as was my choice of bride,” Joe said.
The Reales agreed the event was a wonderful celebration and they especially appreciated the fact that every couple is unique and has a different story to tell. “It’s special because it’s Kate and we know Kate [Murray],” Toni added.
Reception guests were treated to wedding cake and enjoyed a champagne toast, courtesy of Supervisor Murray. Sponsoring the event were Stop & Shop Supermarket, A Taste of Home Bakery of North Bellmore, Mormile Florist of Rockville Centre and the American Airpower Museum.
In an interview with the Floral Park Dispatch, Murray remarked that the event afforded the Town an opportunity to appreciate and give back to the many veterans living in Nassau County.
A former Hempstead Town Clerk, Murray has married nearly 300 couples during her career and said it was an honor and delight to perform the ceremonies. “I loved every minute of it,” she said. “Every year, we try to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, usually at Town Hall. This year, we thought about veterans, giving back to them, we thought of this museum…You know what is so nice is that the back stories of every couple are as unique as the couples themselves.”