Written by Daniel Offner Wednesday, 21 May 2014 00:00
For veterans in Levittown—one of two communities built to house the many GI’s returning home from WWII—Memorial Day is a solemn occasion to pay tribute to those who have died in combat to preserve the American way of life and to honor those currently serving overseas.
Each year, to prepare for the forthcoming Memorial Day weekend, members of American Legion Post #1711 in Levittown start their ceremonies by flagging the graves of veterans at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, followed by a remembrance service for those who died serving our nation, all leading up to the big parade on Monday.
“I am parading for all the guys who didn’t come back,” said Memorial Day Parade Grand Marshall Arthur Tripp.
Tripp, a Vietnam War veteran, was humbled to learn that fellow veterans with the American Legion had selected him to lead this year’s parade. He said, although he is honored to have been picked, he feels there are many more veterans more deserving.
Enlisted in Jan. of 1965, Tripp started as a service officer and would do a tour of duty as a medic for soldiers wounded in combat. Serving more than one tour in Vietnam, Tripp would earn a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, but would lose a very good friend.
Returning from war, Tripp married and had four kids. Today, he continues to help out fellow veterans, who may be down on their luck—unemployed and in need of food and services. American Legion Post #1711 has over 300 members, some of whom are still active today.
“Thank you to all my veterans,” said Tripp, “you are all my heroes.”
The annual Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. along Wantagh Avenue. It will continue westbound down Hempstead Turnpike, ending at Veterans Memorial Park on Shelter Lane.
After all is said and done, on May 31, members of the Legion will return to the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale to remove the flags. Gates open at 7 a.m. For more information or to help set-up for the Memorial Day festivities contact 631-454-4949.