Memorial Day was designated a national holiday in 1971, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs website. It is now celebrated across the country each year with patriotic parades and memorial services, such as those scheduled for Lynbrook and East Rockaway.
The festivities begin in Lynbrook on May 27 with Patriots’ Day events in Greis Park. At 4 p.m., the American Legion and Color Guard will host an opening ceremony and Rev. Bob Walderman will say an opening prayer. The Atria Tanglewood will also sponsor a dinner for all attending veterans, who will have their own VIP tent at Greis Park.
The event will also include inflatable playgrounds, a mayor’s picnic, a magic show at the gazebo and a performance by the American Bombshell Girls, who will sing World War II-era and modern songs.
Bill Marinaccio, the financial officer for the American Legion and a member of the committee for Patriots’ Weekend, described the group as akin to the United Service Organization’s entertainers, but said, “we felt they were better.” The event will conclude with a “Salute to our Veterans” fireworks show at 9 p.m.
On May 28, the parade in Lynbrook will start at McDonald’s, 121 Merrick Road, at 9:45 a.m.
Members of the Marine Corps will lead the parade by playing the taps. American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars members will also take part in the festivities. In addition, Little League teams, the Lynbrook Fire Department, the village’s Kiwanis Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Lynbrook High School band and students from Our Lady of Peace School will be in attendance. Several hundred Lynbrook residents are expected to watch o. “Atlantic Avenue will probably be filled,” Marinaccio said.
The parade will conclude at the Doughboy monument, where the American Legion will salute at each side of the monument and Mayor Alan Beach will deliver a speech.
“What the mayor and the board are really hoping for is that there’s a good turnout at the Doughboy Monument,” Marinaccio said. “The real thing is to get the people out there.”
In East Rockaway
Veterans organizations worked with East Rockaway officials to plan the Memorial Day parade, which is scheduled for 10 a.m.
“I like to think of our veterans as our grand marshal,” Trustee Richard Bilello said.
Bilello said that Memorial Day will begin with an interfaith service at St. Raymond’s Church. There will then be a service honoring fallen firefighters and all who have volunteered to serve in the Fire Department.
“Every Memorial Day, right before the parade, the Fire Department assembles and they read the story of a returning veteran who served on the Fire Department and died in service,” Bilello said, adding that the ERFD leads the ceremony.