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Garden City’s Fallen Heroes Honored at Memorial Day Parade

It was a beautiful day to honor our fallen heroes at the Garden City Memorial Day Parade on May 31. A memorial church service was held at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral of Incarnation, followed by the Parade of Honor, which kicked off at 10 a.m. between Cherry Valley Avenue and Tenth Street before the crowds joined together for a ceremony at Garden City Middle School. Spectators of ages galore gathered to watch the parade with their families, friends and even dogs on the streets and scattered lawns, dressed in appropriate red, white and blue while waving American stick flags.  

Dr. Robert A. Scott, current president of Adelphi University and a member of the United States Navy from 1962 through 1966, served as the parade’s Grand Marshal this year. Marching behind him and many veteran groups were members of the Garden City Fire Department, Garden City Middle School and High School bands, and numerous local Boy and Girl Scout troops.

The outdoor ceremony honored those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. John Donovan, commander of William Bradford Turner Post 265, served as master of ceremonies and notably said the veterans, “did not give their lives, their lives were taken from them.” The raising of the colors was done by honored Eagle and Gold Scouts, followed by an invocation given by The Reverend Joseph M. Schlafer from the Church of St. Joseph.

Notable speakers included N.Y. State Sen. J. Kemp Hannon, N.Y. State Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, Nassau County Legislator Vincent T. Muscarella, Garden City Mayor Robert J. Rothschild, American Legion Auxiliary Joan C. Donovan and Grand Marshal Dr. Scott.

After the speeches, patriotic music was played by the Garden City High School band, led by director James McCrann, Post Commander Donovan read the names of the 58 Garden City residents who have been killed in combat and buglers Marissa Burdi and Robert Pietrzak played “Taps” as a salute to the dead at eternal rest.

“Growing up and being with my own children and my grandchildren, I think Memorial Day Parade’s are a special time for communities to come together,” Dr. Scott said. “It’s a solemn time and it seems to me it is a time to think back to the purpose of Memorial Day, which was about reconciliation and bringing people together—and, if we can commemorate that every year and be reminded so that we maybe do more of that during the year, that’s a great thing.”

Garden City residents were pleased to voice why they participate in the Memorial Day Parade and what means to them. “It’s just a nice thing to do on a nice day and it’s nice to show support for the troops,” said Bill Cleary.

Steve Short expressed his appreciation for the annual celebration. He said, “My dad fought in World War II—he died two weeks ago, so this is all kind of fitting and, every year, you’ll find me on this corner [Seventh Street and Franklin Avenue]. Halfway through the route people are getting tired and I’m saying, ‘Smile! Show some teeth! Have some fun!’”