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VFW Post No. 1305 Holds Memorial Day Parade

Local residents, officials remember those who served their country

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1305 hosted its annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28.  After traveling down Westbury Avenue, Roslyn Road, Jericho Turnpike and ending at Memorial Park on Marcellus Road, a special ceremony was held to honor those who have died for their country.

Among the many that marched in the parade were the Nassau County Police Department, Mineola Auxilary Police, Mineola Fire Department, Chaminade High School Marching Band, Mineola American Legion, Mineola Chamber of Commerce and Knights of Columbus. Boy Scout Troop 45 also participated, as well as the Mineola Portuguese Center, Irish American Center, Dynamics Dance Studio, among others.

Mineola residents lined up along the entire route of the parade, sitting in lawn chairs, gathering their families and pets together to watch the show. Beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Wilson Park, the parade took off at 11 a.m. and the memorial ceremony took place at noon.

Commander Manny Grilo and Commander Sal Cataldo introduced a host of guest speakers who expressed their thanks and praise to the servicemen and women of the past and present.

“Thank you to all the people who gave their lives, and the ones that are here today and still serving,” Cataldo said.  “The American Legion and the VFW do everything we can to help them.”

He also read lyrics from the Trace Atkins song “Arlington,” to further express the significance of Memorial Day.

Douglas Mendoza of the Salvation Army gave an invocation.

“Memorial Day is a federal holiday to remember the men and women who died while serving the United States,” said Mendoza.

Grilo spoke about services he has been attending for the past few weeks, and how he was called a ‘hero’ to which he responded: “No I’m not, the heroes are left on the battlefield.  They’re the ones who never came home, and that’s why we’re here today.”

Following their speeches were the following guest speakers: Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, Village of Mineola Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira, Village of Mineola Trustee Paul Cusato, Village of Mineola Trustee George Durham, Village of Mineola Trustee Larry Werther, New York State Senator Jack Martins, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello, Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Town of North Hempstead Councilman Angelo Ferrara, Town of North Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman, Town of North Hempstead Town Clerk Leslie Gross, Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps., Rev. Les Siegal and Boy Scout Troop #45 Eagle Scout Christopher Gavin.

Gavin spoke about his Eagle Scout project he conceived which will make 150 care packages for homeless veterans across Long Island.

“There are 600 homeless veterans on Long Island, of both men and women. These are 600 heroes period, and what kind of country and people would we be if we didn’t help them in their time of need,” said Gavin.  

He plans to make 75 packages for men and 75 packages for women, which will contain items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, clean socks, deodorant, shaving cream and other necessary health products.  They will be distributed at an event for the homeless veterans in July, organized by the Nassau County Veterans Organization.

Every speaker thanked the servicemen and women from the American Revolution all the way up until the present day Iraq War.

“Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? It’s to honor the men and women who serve, their commitment and especially those who make the ultimate sacrifice: their lives,” said Senator Jack Martins.

“A veteran is someone who wrote a check made payable to the United States of America, in the amount of, up to and including their lives,” said Mayor Scott Strauss.

“On behalf of the Town of North Hempstead, look around, this is the American dream.  There is no one we give greater thanks and allegiance to than those who made that great sacrifice and perished in our name,” said Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman.

The ceremony concluded with a rifle salute made up of Jerry Olden, Yuri Karaz and Donald Olsen, firing three shots to remember the dead; and the singing of God Bless America.