As I walked down Prospect Street toward the Farmingdale Village Green, I heard the distinct sound of bagpipes in the distant. As the music grew louder, I saw a police car dash down Main Street toward Waldbaum's and I knew the beginning of the parade was not too far behind. As I saw the first fringes of Old Glory appear, I started to run as fast as my legs would let me, hoping to catch up with the color guard. With a little help from my marching friends, the parade stopped long enough for me to settle in and take my place in the procession. I joined Village Trustee Pat Christiansen and started marching toward Allen Park. Marching in Farmingdale Baseball League's (FBLI) parade is always a special treat for me. This year was even more meaningful as the parade's Grand Marshal was the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 516.
As we marched closer to Route 109, I couldn't help but notice the eight men marching in front of me. They marched, in cadence, side by side. As we turned off Main Street onto Motor Avenue, I was touched to see a young woman step off the curb and shake one of the veteran's hands; she thanked him as she moved back onto the side walk and then wiped a tear from her face. It was at this point that I noticed one of the marchers in front of me. He was still marching in perfect step, head held high, arms moving in perfect rhythm. He never missed a step, all the way through Allen Park and right up to the showmobile. I could not help but feel his pride as he marched along the parade route. I did not think that that memorable vision could be surpassed. Not until I had the honor of standing next to the veterans as our Star Spangled Banner was sung. I was humbled as I looked at these brave men, at attention, proudly saluting the flag. Their eyes and facial expressions said it all. FBLI President Tom Sabellico reminded the crowd that we owe a certain amount of gratitude to them and their comrades. He also asked us to remember and to think about and support our current soldiers stationed around the world. The ceremonial first balls were thrown, Take Me Out to the Ball Game sung and the green and white balloons were released, signifying the start of the Farmingdale baseball season. I watched the families gather up their little ballplayers and head home. As I walked back to the parking lot, there in front of me I saw the veteran in the black VFW jacket, walking back to his car - still in perfect step. It was a perfect ending to a very memorable day.