William Moye, the Honorary Grand Marshal for the New Rochelle Memorial Day Parade, was introduced by Eugene McLeer, President of the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association. Moye gave the invocation, calling on the "mighty ruler of the universe," and recounted that many of the departed veterans had given their lives for their country. The New Rochelle High School Band under the direction of Robert Freeberg stirringly played the National Anthem, deepening the patriotic mood of the day.
Mayor Noam Bramson introduced Council members and other dignitaries present. In his remarks he said today is one of showing "gratitude" and "deep respect" for all who gave their life for their country. Next County Legislator James Maisano, himself a Marine Corps veteran, said, "This is a day to honor all our veterans." He thanked all those who participated in the ceremony especially the veteran groups. He also made special mention of all the sacrifices of those who served, especially the true patriots from New Rochelle who lost their lives. "Greater love has no man than to give his own life for his country." He spoke of Captain Nathan Hale who when caught in 1776 by the British said, "I regret I have but one life to give for my country."
A wreath was placed by Bramson and McLeer on the monument in Memorial Plaza, followed by two minutes of silence for the honored dead, and the playing of taps by Michael LaPlace. Peter Parente, Commander of VFW Post 439 and a Marine Corps veteran, coordinator of the parade. asked people to come to the barbecue at Hudson Park where there would be four bands playing.
The Parade followed. In the first division the U. S. Marine Corps Color Guard and the "We Remember" banner was followed by the New Rochelle Police Department motorcycle escort. The Honorary Grand Marshal, William Moye, and the Grand Marshal, Eugene McLeer, were next in vehicles. In a total of three divisions there were contingents of city officials and uniformed services, floats, color guards, veteran and military groups, boy and girl scouts, school groups and a variety of bands and community organizations.
An enthusiastic audience watched the parade and clapped and cheered as various groups passed them. Among those watching was Ada Vazquez, a mother and wife of two Army generations. She felt the parade was wonderful and she loved it. She said she "got to meet the new Grand Marshal." Another viewer of the parade was Lucille Ramirez who also thought it was wonderful. She said she enjoyed the Marines, drums, motorcycles and fire trucks.
Jim Murphy, United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association treasurer and New Rochelle American Legion Post 8 Adjutant, thought the parade "was wonderful, better than last year. At Hudson Park this year the smiling faces of the children made it all worth while. The parade would never have gotten off the ground without the leadership and guidance of Peter Parente. Kudos to New Rochelle's own Kathy Gilwit for her tireless work on behalf of the Parade Committee."
[this article originally appeared as Ceremony and Parade in New Rochelle Commemorates Memorial Day by Peggy Godfrey in The Westchester Tribune, June 4,2009]
Charles G. McLaughlin, Karen Hessel and Bill Mullens sent us some great photos from Monday's Memorial Day Parade in New Rochelle. Congratulations to Peter Parente and all the folks involved in creating a wonderful event to remember the fallen. If you missed it this year, plan on being there next year. If you have photos from the parade you would like to share please send them along at newrochelletalk AT me DOT com.
Charles G. McLaughlin Photos (all rights reserved)
Karen Hessel Photos (all rights reserved)
Bill Mullen Photos (all rights reserved)