With roots dating back to the Civil War, Memorial Day has long been an opportunity for Americans to remember those who died while serving in the military. The holiday was originally known as Decoration Day, with the first recorded reference to Memorial Day used in 1882.
Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1967, and was moved from it’s traditional date of May 30 to the last Monday in May, because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968. The Five Towns marks the holiday with three parades. Memorial day is May 28.
The Inwood parade gets the festivities under way at noon on Sunday, May 27. Participants will meet at the Inwood Long Island Rail Road station on Doughty Boulevard, and make their way north to the monuments outside of the John J. Oliveri Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1582 at the intersection of Doughty Boulevard and Mott Avenue.
The VFW’s senior vice commander, Miguel Martinez will be the parade’s grand marshal. Martinez, a member of the army active reserve, has participated in the parade every year since moving to the Five Towns five years ago.
“There’s been less and less community involvement in Inwood,” he said. “It’s hard to see something like this fade away. I hope more people get involved.”
Martinez, also a sergeant of the New York Unified Court System, hopes that the parade may inspire some residents. “Most people [in Inwood] show no interest in joining the military,” he said. “I hope we can get some more people from the Five Towns to join the U.S. military.”
The Hewlett-Woodmere parade begins at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 28, at the Woodmere firehouse on Irving Place. From there marchers will head up Broadway into the parking lot of Hewlett High School.
There will be food served, music and speeches from military veterans, as well as classic and exotic cars on display and horses from the New York Equestrian Club in the parking lot, according to David Friedman, president of the Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association.
The grand marshal, Ann DeMichael, a Woodmere resident and the director of the Cedarhurst Senior Center, is hoping that her third time being nominated for the role will be the charm. Rain cancelled Hewlett-Woodmere’s last two Memorial Day parades. “I hope there’s beautiful weather, I already brought my outfit,” she said. “It’s an honor to have been selected … I think the sun is going to shine bright.”
The Lawrence Cedarhurst parade begins at 11:15, also on Monday, at the Lawrence-Cedarhurst firehouse on Washington Avenue and then proceeds up Central Avenue to Cedarhurst Avenue before ending at Andrew J. Parise Cedarhurst Park, at the intersection of Cedarhurst and Summit avenues.
The parade doesn’t have grand marshal, however, they will have a ceremony, but includes a memorial service with military veterans. “We want to turn out as many people as possible,” said Village Administrator Sal Evola. “It’s a great salute to our veterans and a good chance to remember all our vets on Memorial Day.”