“Education will set you free.”
Those are the words that Medal of Honor recipient and Patchogue-Medford High School graduate LT Michael P. Murphy lived by.
And they’re the “foundation” of the future LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum that’s currently being built on Suffolk County parkland in West Sayville, the first museum of its kind in the Northeast and only the second in the U.S.
The museum “will illuminate the brave stories of our Navy SEALs and will educate in detail who they are, what they represent, and how they affect our lives,” said Bryan Mastrangelo, an SCPD and Coast Guard officer and museum trustee.
“It will be a catalyst to know that any person with the commitment and the dream can play an integral part in our nation’s history,” Mastrangelo said to hundreds gathered for a special day at the museum site, which is south of the L.I. Maritime Museum.
Mastrangelo led Tuesday’s beam-signing and topping off ceremonies, during which the museum’s steel frame wad deemed complete with the placement of the last beam.
But first, the beam was marked by dozens of signatures from family, friends and supporters.
After it was placed, an American flag was mounted atop the structure. That same flag also previously flew above the U.S. Navy Destroyer, USS Michael Murphy.
LT Murphy, a 1994 graduate of Patchogue-Medford High School, was killed leading a team of Navy SEALs in Afghanistan in 2005. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007.
The museum is expected to be open to the public in early 2020. It will also serve as a training facility for the LT Michael P. Murphy Sea Cadet Division. It’s cost is being funded almost entirely through fundraising efforts by the LT. Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum Foundation.
LT Murphy’s father, Dan, mother, Maureen, and brother John all sit on the foundation’s board of trustees as well. They and other family members were all on hand Tuesday, May 7.
It would have been LT Murphy’s 43rd birthday.
“I can’t think of a better day to have the last piece of steel placed into what our director of construction, Vince Calvosa, so kindly calls ‘Michael’s House,'” said Dan Murphy. “While it bears his name, this museum will tell the story of our Navy SEALs, as only Navy SEALs and SEAL families really know what they do.
“From training, to deployment, to covert missions, to behind enemy lines, Navy SEALs and our Special Operations troops are at the forefront of every mission in order to protect this nation.”
The family members were the first to sign the beam before it was raised.
Among the others to sign was Jamie Atkinson with the Community Ambulance Company of Sayville. His wife, Brenda Orejuela, also signed.
“It’s history,” Atkinson told a reporter. “Everyone wants to be a part of history. It’s for our future leaders to go forward and serve, especially people from our community, so it’s great to be a part of that, to put my name on the steel, along with my wife’s name. It’s very humbling.”
story continues below photo
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was also on hand with his wife and children, who had previously toured the USS Michael Murphy at Pearl Harbor.
“Without men like Michael Murphy and families like these, without that sacrifice, we couldn’t have the country that we have today,” Bellone said. “People, in particular our kids, have to know who Michael Murphy is, what he represents.
“And what he represents is the best of our country.”