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Memorial Day Parade Honors Vets

“Today by title is one of grief and remembrance,” said Adolph Block Post 1305 Commander and D-Day invader Tom Scardino on Monday, May 26 from the rear deck of the Mineola Memorial Library overlooking Memorial Park and a medium-sized crowd gathered near the war monument below. “Today is Memorial Day; when we pay tribute to our fallen heroes. Today we wish to also honor the wives, the children, parents, fathers, the brothers, sisters and friends of the heroes who paid that supreme price.”

Following a very well-attended Memorial Day parade through the streets of Mineola that started out at Wilson Park and ended at Memorial Park under the 80-plus degree heat of an early summer sun, the handful of veterans and residents crowded under what little shade the trees of the park provided as various local representatives spoke from the dais.

American Legion Post 349 Commander Carl Marchese wanted to honor those who couldn’t march that day, because they fought the good fight but couldn’t come home to their families. He was named Post Commander in 2012. Marchese was instrumental in brining in Yuri Karasz, the first female Post member since its inception in 1922.

Marchese served at Fort Bragg, N.C. for airborne training. He trained with the U.S. Rangers at Fort Benning, GA in 1961. From there, he received his posting to Fort Dix, N.J. as a company officer for advanced infantry training. What was supposed to be a short stay, ended with an 18-month commission because of the escalation of the Berlin Wall crisis.

“We remember those who are no longer with us because they sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom,” he said. “These sacrifices have occurred throughout our nation’s history. We continue to lose American heroes every day in Afghanistan and in military training accidents and missions around the world. We don’t just honor those with the highest medals. We honor the more than 11 million men and women who lost their lives defending America in wars from the American Revolution to the global war on terrorism.”

“We all may not be able to appreciate the magnitude of that day, but we will be able to remember and honor those who fought for us, not only on that day but every day since this great country came to be,” Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said, touching on the upcoming 70th anniversary of D-Day. “Memorial Day is a day to take a moment and think about the brave men and women who have allowed us the opportunity to enjoy this three-day weekend; the ones who paid for it with their lives.”

At least a dozen red, white and blue-colored wreaths circled the memorial rock monument in the center of the park; wreaths were donated by the various village organizations and businesses. A rifle honor guard also fired a ceremonial volley into the air in honor of the dead.

“We work together today to acknowledge those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, who gave unthinkingly of themselves so that we could stand here today,” North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.

Nassau Legislator Richard Nicolello observed that “we are blessed to live in a place in which our rights and freedoms are protected; to live in a land of opportunity where we can follow our dreams.”

“Each year we try to put into words I think something that can’t be put into words and that’s the debt of gratitude we owe the people wee honor on Memorial Day,” Assemblyman Ed Ra said.

Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, a member of the state veteran’s committee, touted the long-term care needed for veterans returning from active duty.

“In government joined by Senator [Jack] Martins, our responsibilities make sure that those soldiers that do come home, our veterans, are given what they are rightfully deserved by the... government to make sure that the benefits of long-term care... and that they can be treated quickly and reasonably,” said Schimel, a member of the state veteran’s committee.

Added Martins: “those things that we take for granted; this should happen every day. But it’s great to come together at least once, all of us, as we pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

For more photos from the Memorial Day parade, go to facebook.com/MineolaAmerican