NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- If there was any doubt that Mayor Noam Bramson's decision to take down a Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" Flag from the New Rochelle Naval Armory was driven by cynical partisan politics, namely his desire to run to the left as he seeks to obtain the Democratic nomination for Westchester County Executive, look no further than last year's Memorial Day Parade.
The annual event, organized by the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association and led by UVMPA President Peter Parente, featured speeches by Mayor Noam Bramson, Congressman Eliot Engel and others. Marching in the parade was Bramson along with Council Member Barry Fertel (D-District 5), Council Member Ivar Hyden (D-District 4), and Council Member Jared Rice (D-District 3). In the park after was George Latimer (D-NY). Also on hand was Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni (D-NY). Also, walking in the parade was City Manager Charles Strome.
None of the Democrats on City Council who claimed at the April 9, 2013 City Council meeting to have found the Gadsden Flag "offensive" when it was displayed in front of the New Rochelle Naval Armory expressed the slightest concern that the flag was prominently displayed during the 2012 Memorial Day parade and served as the centerpiece for a patriotic display on the bandshell in Hudson Park.
The bandshell was festooned with American flags including three "Stars and Stripes" flags, a POW-MIA flag, a Marine Corps flag and, in the center, surrounded by two Support our Troops/Yellow Ribbon shields, a Gadsden Flag. The entire park and parade was lined with all manner of American and service flags including variations of the "Don't Tread on Me" flag.
Participating in ceremonies at the bandshell was members, in uniform, of the New Rochelle Police Department, the New Rochelle Fire Department, various City officials and representatives from every branch of the Armed Forces, most in New York for the 2012 Fleet Week festivities. The New Rochelle Police Department color guard played a lead role in the ceremonies that day.
After the Town of Deerpark, NY raised a Gadsden Flag in defiance of the New Rochelle City Council's actions to remove the flag from a flag pole at the New Rochelle Naval Armory, Mayor Noam Bramson told the Journal News "“I think public property is best used for unifying symbols, such as the American flag or the flag of the state of New York."
The New Rochelle Memorial Day parade, a City of New Rochelle event, is one of many such events administered by the United Veterans Memorial & Patriotic Association. The bandshell at Hudson Park where the Gadsden Flag was displayed for the entire day last May is public property. Thousands of New Rochelle residents come together each year for the City's Memorial Day ceremonies and parade in support of the men and women of the United States military, past and present. The event has been, for many years, the largest and most-well attended community event in the City of New Rochelle.