Long Beach honored its veterans and active duty military members on Monday with the annual Memorial Day Parade and ceremony.
This year’s festivities sought to recognize the sacrifice and service of the military’s femal service members.
“I don’t always feel that women get the recognition they should get,” said VFW Commander and parade organizer Dan MacPhee. “Women have been dying for America since the Revolutionary War, and you never hear of them.”
There were 10 grand marshals, all women who are actively serving in the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army and Navy. And the parade also honored Long Beach’s most iconic female service member, the late Harriett “Rusty” Williams, the first female post commander of both the Long Beach and Nassau County VFWs.
“It was really amazing,” said former Long Beach resident and grand marshal Ali Bardeguez-Perkins, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is now a reservist. “We felt really proud. We love what we do, even if we don’t get any recognition for it, but it gives you that extra sense of pride, that people notice.”
Crowds lined the streets to watch over 100 members of the Joint Veteran’s Association —AMVETS, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars — march from Ohio Avenue to City Hall. At a ceremony at City Hall, County Legislator Denise Ford presented Williams’ family with a proclamation from County Executive Ed Mangano, recognizing her as a “true patriot,” MacPhee said.
Following the city’s ceremony, the VFW held a ceremony to honor its fallen heroes, and the VFW members who died in the past year.