In addition to vintage planes, there was love in the air at Farmingdale's American Airpower Museum this Valentine's Day.
Ten couples, made up of vets from World War II, Vietnam, Korea and Iraq, renewed their vows at the museum as part of Supervisor Kate Murray's "GI Love Stories" event. Rockville Centre's Mormile Florist provided flowers for the ceremony and Bellmore's Taste of Home Bakery donated a custom cake for each couple.
"We are honored to be able to host this Town of Hempstead event," said Jim Vocell, vice president and head of flight operations at the museum. "It reminds all of us that the veterans community represents families throughout the region comprised of men and women who came home from military service to live the American Dream."
Each couple walked up the aisle as Supervisor Murray read their wartime love story. After all vows were renewed, there was a champagne toast and cake cutting.
"The men and women here today have had their romance battle tested, proving love truly conquers all," Murray said.
Among the couples who renewed their vows were Walter and Patricia Hetzel of Levittown. The couple is celebrating 45 years of marriage this year surrounded by their three kids and six grandchildren.
"They are all about each other," said their son Walter Jr.
Walter is a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Home between the wars, he noticed Patricia across the room at a party and told his friends he could win a kiss from her. He went over to her, bet her a nickel he could kiss her without even touching her, then purposely planted a kiss on her lips and handed her a nickel. The couple postponed the wedding until he returned from Vietnam back to the states in 1967.
"I feel so important today," Patricia said.
"I feel like a hero, and believe me we weren't treated like heroes when we came back in 1967," Walter said.
"A marriage for a nickel, what a deal," Supervisor Murray said.