Hundreds of Uniondale residents gathered along Uniondale Avenue on Monday for the town’s annual Memorial Day Parade and ceremony, paying tribute to those who gave their life in service to the country.
The parade began at Uniondale High School, where the district’s marching bands, cheerleaders and junior Reserve Officers Training Corps as well as the Uniondale Fire Department’s junior firefighters and other first responders gathered and marched just over a mile to Uniondale Park, where the ceremony was held.
Community members lined the parade route, waving and cheering as student musicians played marches, and others danced. A phalanx of fire trucks and ambulances blared their sirens to the beat of popular songs, while spectators joined in singing along and filling the air with laughter and cheers as first responders marched down the street, basking in the vocal admiration of the residents they serve.
Once the parade reached Uniondale Park, participants lined up shoulder to shoulder and onlookers gathered at the podium in front of the baseball fields.
Parade Chairman Steve Doherty, an Army Reserve veteran and a Uniondale firefighter, led the ceremony, and solemnly recited the names of Uniondale natives who made the ultimate sacrifice. Wreaths were placed in front of the park memorial.
Doherty stressed the importance of commemorating Memorial Day. “Being a veteran of the Army Reserve, I’m grateful for the time I served,” he said, adding that his military service helped him become a better person.
He noted the participation of the high school’s Junior ROTC and the Fire Department’s Junior Firefighters. “They’re great kids with very bright futures ahead of them,” Doherty said. “They’re the future of not just our community, but our nation.”
The ceremony featured a guest speaker, U.S. Army Deputy Inspector General Houng Lee, who focused on the importance and significance of Memorial Day, as well as sacrifice and selflessness.
Lee told the Herald he was honored to be invited, and happy that so many residents showed their support. “Having friends, personally, that gave the ultimate sacrifice, it just means so much to me to be here, and to be able to speak in front of everyone about how important today is and what it really signifies,” he said.
After the ceremony concluded, the crowd was invited to stay Uniondale Little League baseball’s season-opening scrimmage.