Several hundred Valley Streamers are expected to gather on Rockaway Avenue on May 28 to watch as veterans pass by and honor their fallen comrades in commemoration of Memorial Day.
“Valley Stream is a great big small town,” said Mayor Ed Fare. “It is really a great hometown feeling when you attend a parade that the whole community takes part in, and nothing is more important than commemorating those who gave their lives in defense of this country.”
Members from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1790 and from the American Legion Andrew Fatscher Post No. 854 will gather at 8:45 for the march, which will follow a route 1.5 miles down Rockaway Ave, starting at Wheeler Avenue Elementary School and ending on the Village Green. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the Central High School band are also expected to march and perform.
A memorial service will follow the parade at Veterans Memorial Plaza, on the corner of Valley Stream Boulevard and Hicks Street.
“I hope that people understand that it’s not like Veteran’s Day,” said George Schuchman, the commander of the American Legion. “It’s for the people who gave their life.”
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans from the Civil War, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John Logan declared that Declaration Day would be observed on May 30, when flowers would be in bloom throughout the country. The first large observance was held in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery. Michigan made Decoration Day an official holiday, and by 1890, every Northern state had done the same.
The name was officially changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day in 1967. The date was changed following passage of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968, which made three-day weekends of most American civil holidays.
According to the DVA’s website, it was not until after World War I that Decoration Day expanded to honor those who died fighting for the United States in every war
“Without them we wouldn’t be here,” said Schuchman.