Morning rains cleared before New Rochelle’s Memorial Day Parade sounded off Monday morning. This year is the 150th anniversary of the start of the United States Civil War, and precedes the 10-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks and comes after the recent assassination of Osama bin Laden. A prayer and a several short speeches were made by decorated armed forces personnel before soldiers delivered a gun salute that acknowledged the commencement of the march towards Hudson Park.
The parade started at Memorial Highway, trumpeted down Huguenot, and wiggled through North Avenue to its final destination on the banks of Long Island Sound. All branches of the military were represented at the fanfare—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all wearing their respective, bright-colored uniforms.
Thousands of boisterous New Rochelle residents turned up, donning red-white-and-blue caps and shirts, as they relentlessly waved at the procession of servicemen, local firefighters and police officers, and marching bands. Many of those watching the performance on the sidelines had served during wartime.
John Condelario and Doloris Shutts applauded and commended the men and women in uniform as they passed down North Avenue. Condelario served during the Korean War and is a life-long resident to of New Rochelle.
Another Korean veteran and life-long resident of New Rochelle, Pete Paduano, smoked from a pipe and saluted those marching down New Rochelle’s busiest street. Paduano was particularly reminiscent of his time in service, “I caught the tail-end of Korea,” he said.
Marvin Schwartz, World War II, Alan Ascher, Korean War, James Tuzzy, IV of Vietnam were hoisted on the “USA Flag with Veterans” float that tailed the New Rochelle High School Marching Band.
Mayor Noam Bramson, speaking at Memorial Plaza, said, “So today, together, we say to all who served honorably and to whom gratitude is long overdue, thank you, thank you, thank you for wearing the uniform of the greatest nation in the history of the world. We honor you, we salute you, and when Vietnam is mentioned, we say hold your head up high.”
Two grand marshals made the parade. Brigadier General David Smith spoke at the Memorial Plaza. “This weekend all across our great country, we pause and pay tribute to those who gave their all to freedom’s cause,” said Smith. “Today, I want to thank each and every one of you for remembering our fallen brothers and sisters and keeping this day alive.”
The event concluded with a waterfront ceremony at Hudson Park, where the Star Spangled Banner was performed, a $1 food court was provided by AJ’s Burgers, and the a jazz band, The West Point Jazz Knights, performed.
The event was coordinated by Peter Parente, President of the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association (UVMPA) of New Rochelle, and Commander of the Veterans of Foreign War Post 439 in New Rochelle. The event was sponsored in large part by Monroe College.
Mayor Noam Branson, his voice rising at Memorial Plaza, said, “And let us remember always to those we rest in the ground, or at the bottom of the sea…these Americans are, have been, and will always be the hope of mankind.”
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