Although Governor Andrew said at his daily briefing on Tuesday that Memorial Day ceremonies can now take place this coming weekend decisions not to hold a parade will not change in Oyster Bay, Locust Valley or in Bayville. Probably because, as the governor said, ceremonies must be limited to 10 or fewer people, and social distancing — standing six feet apart — must be maintained to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It would be difficult to hold a parade under those conditions.
“We usually have 300 to 400 kids march in our Memorial Day parade each year so we can’t do the parade,” said Reginald Butt, former commander of Oyster Bay’s Quentin Roosevelt Post 4. “And the veterans that would go are too old. I don’t want to expose them to the virus.”
Bayville’s commander, Vincent Libertini, said they were going to have two World War II veterans serve as their Grand Marshals in this year’s parade, which usually includes 1,500 marchers. The Robert H. Spittel Post 1285 also pays to transport members of the Navy and Marine Corps., who travel to Manhattan for Fleet Week each year. They march in the parade and the legion serves them breakfast and lunch too. The active duty servicemen and woman are a welcome addition each year to Bayville’s Memorial Day Parade which attracts many residents, Libertini said.
“This year we were supposed to have Merchant Marine Cadets too but Fleet Week was cancelled,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for 15 years. We’ll bring them back next year.”
There will also not be a Field of Flags in the village green, which is popular. But Libertini said the veterans did flag Bayville’s cemetery.
Locust Valley’s Howard A. Van Wagner, NY Post 962 will also not be hosting its traditional parade. “It’s a fun day for everyone,” said American Legion member Tony Bliss. “We usually have picnic lunches on the grounds of the schools.”
This year the post will fire rounds to honor those that died from the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country and then go to the memorial in front of Oyster Bay’s WaterFront Center. The legion has already prepared the hamlet visually for the holiday placing flags all through the main part of town.
Cuomo also encouraged car parades to honor the fallen on Memorial Day, which will be marked officially on Monday, May 25. It isn’t clear yet if there will be any in Oyster Bay, Bayville or Locust Valley.