Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 18 February 2011 00:00
Thousands of local residents braved the cold weather to pay respect, as Massapequa and Seaford were the sites of the melancholy wake and funeral for Police Officer Michael Califano.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the wake for Officer Califano was held at the Massapequa Funeral Home’s South Chapel. On Thursday, the funeral mass was held at Maria Regina Roman Catholic Church in Seaford. That day, hundreds of police officers and motorcycles escorted the funeral procession through the streets of Massapequa to Seaford. The Massapequa and Seaford fire departments marked the solemn event by hoisting a huge American flag under which the procession traveled.
As is tradition, police officers from all over the New York metropolitan area, including those from every Long Island Police Department, plus those from New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York State Troopers showed up in force to lend their support to the Califano family.
Also in attendance were Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, and Bishop William Murphy from the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Many of the thousands of residents who turned out for the funeral mass at Maria Regina could not attend the actual services. And so, they paid their respect by remaining and standing in the outside the packed church. As is also custom, police department bagpipers stood outside the church and played “Amazing Grace” and “Taps” before the procession made its final trip from Maria Regina to Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury for the burial.
Officer Califano was killed on Friday, Feb. 4 when he was struck by a flat bed truck while on duty at the Old Westbury westbound Exit 39 on the Long Island Expressway. He leaves behind a wife, Jacqueline and three young sons.
—John H. Meyer contributed to this article.