Residents filled the sidewalks of Main Street on May 28 to watch Port Washington’s annual Memorial Day Parade and to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the United States. Veterans from Port Washington’s Henderson-Marino Post 1819 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion Post 509 led the parade with grand marshals Douglas C. Schlaefer Sr. (VFW) and John Hellenschmidt (American Legion).
Marchers included local organizations like Community Chest of Port Washington, Landmark on Main Street, Parent Resource Center, Plant A Row For The Hungry, Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society, local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, Port Soccer, PAL, John Michael Marino Lodge no. 1389, Port Washington Knights of Columbus, United Methodist Church of Port Washington, Brotherhood of the Community Synagogue of Port Washington and the Port Washington Fire Department.
The parade culminated with a ceremony in Sunset Park in which students from the Schreiber High School band played the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” with soloist Bob Breslin. Reverend Gary Parker of St. Stephen’s Church gave an invocation to begin.
“Today we are here to honor those who have served our country and given their lives so we may stand here and still live in freedom,” said Parker. “We need to be constantly reminded of our gift of freedom and of those who gave all to make sure future generations continue to know life in a free democratic society. Remembering those who have passed is only half of the task before us today. We must also carry their love, honor and duty forward. Our children must know who they were, what they did and why they did it.”
Former VFW commander John Chalker recited the poem “In Flanders Fields” and taps was played during the raising of the flag by Schreiber High Schooler Emily Krauss.
“I want to share a Memorial Day remembrance on how I feel about it,” said VFW commander John Baptisto Fiore. “And it goes like this, ‘Please don’t wish me Happy Memorial Day. There’s nothing happy about the loss of the brave men and women of our armed forces who died in combat defending America. Memorial Day is not a celebration for us. Memorial Day is a time for reflection, for pause, remembrance, thanksgiving for the patriots who gave up their own lives to protect the lives and freedom of all of us including the freedom of generations long gone and generations unborn. We owe those generations a debt so enormous that it can never be repaid.’”