The Annual Plainview-Old Bethpage Memorial Day Parade will be held Monday, May 26 at 9:30 a.m. All residents are invited to this function honoring deceased veterans who have made the supreme sacrifice in serving our country.
The parade will be hosted by the POB VFW and American Legion. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. going west down Old Country Road in Plainview and concludes with a commemoration ceremony the Plainview Community Park on Washington Avenue.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto urges residents to take a few moments to remember our nation's fallen heroes on that day.
"As long as there are wars, there will be casualties," Venditto stated. "It is not only our privilege, but our duty as citizens of a free nation, to honor the men and women who rendered such great service to our nation in times of war and gave their last full measure to safeguard the principles on which our nation was founded and has flourished. Perhaps a brief look at the history of Memorial Day will bring its importance into focus.
"The man generally credited with the establishment of the first official observance of what was initially known as Decoration Day is General John A. Logan, who fought in eight major campaigns in the Civil War," the Supervisor said. "As Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of northern Civil War veterans, he issued General Order 11 to all GAR members on May 5, 1868. It designated May 30 as a day 'for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in the defense of their country in the late rebellion...' The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, where flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers and where members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment now commemorate Memorial Day by placing American flags on the more than 280,000 graves. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York; Waterloo, New York was designated 'the birthplace of Memorial Day' by Congress and President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966. By 1890, it was recognized by all of the northern states. It eventually grew into a national holiday that honors soldiers killed in all wars. In 1882, the GAR changed the name of Decoration Day to Memorial Day to highlight the importance of remembering these people as opposed to decorating their graves. By an Act of Congress, Memorial Day was later moved to the last Monday in May, which only served to take away from its intended purpose as a day to remember America's war dead.
"The ranks of the veterans groups, which have always been at the forefront of Memorial Day observances, are shrinking because most of them are veterans of World War II and Korea, who are getting older, and there are not many young men and women joining to replace them." Supervisor Venditto continued. "As a result, each year, Memorial Day parades get fewer and smaller and the size of the crowds also dwindles a bit more. But, that does not make Memorial Day any less significant and, perhaps, makes our responsibility to remember it even more important. In the words of General Logan, 'If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.' Also, with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, new names have been inscribed on the rolls of those who died in the service of our country, and they deserve to be remembered by us all for making the supreme sacrifice.
"Memorial Day brings to mind the words of John Maxwell Edmonds, an English classical scholar, who, in the early 1900s, published a collection of 12 suggested epitaphs for War Memorials. Among them is, 'When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.' This epitaph has been inscribed on war memorials around the world and sums up eloquently what so many brave men and woman have sacrificed their lives to preserve. So, please, set aside some time during the day to remember the reason behind Memorial Day and to show some sign of gratitude and remembrance of those who gave their lives that we might live ours in peace, freedom and abundance."
The supervisor noted that once again, this year, Americans are being asked by the White House Commission on Remembrance to observe the one minute National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time. The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is when many Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.
"The idea of the Moment was born in 1996 when children touring Washington, DC, were asked what Memorial Day meant," Supervisor Venditto said. "They responded, 'That's the day the pools open!' The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day observances. It is intended to be an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. By participating in the Moment, you will be helping reclaim Memorial Day for the noble and sacred reason for which it was intended-to honor those who died in service to our Nation."