LI National Cemetery caretakers honor the fallen

FARMINGDALE - While most Americans pause once a year to salute servicemen and women, for the caretakers of the Long Island National Cemetery, every day is Veterans Day.

As veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Pvt. Christopher Durante, of Islip, and Cpl. Joshua Dowdy, of Medford, understand the meaning of service and sacrifice. They returned from the battlefields of Baghdad to care for 350,000 fallen comrades.

"I'm very proud to do what I do," Durante says. "It's fitting that we take care of each other in life as veterans, and we should also take care of each other even in death."

Among the soldiers buried at the cemetery are 35 service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan resting in the oak-shaded western edge of Section R.

"When I walk through that section, it's a little difficult because I see guys even younger than me," Durante says.

The two caretakers say there will always be someone back home to look after the fallen heroes, and they will never be forgotten. For extended video of the Veterans Day ceremony held at Calverton National Cemetery, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select the 'iO extra' tab.Hope on wheels: 7 Long Island veterans get free carsIsland Harvest donates mobile food van to help veterans

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