By Demi Guo
Mineola held its annual Memorial Day parade on Monday, honoring the nation’s fallen service members and the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day. It ended in Memorial Park among monuments.
Mayor Scott Strauss began by recalling the Battle of Kamdesh during the ongoing war in Afghanistan, whose 10-year anniversary occurs in October. He listed the decorations awarded to those who fought in that battle, and turned the audience’s attention to the plaques throughout the park, which honor Mineola residents who served.
Three Marines were killed in Afghanistan last month, he said. That includes Cpl. Robert Hendricks, who was from Long Island. “How can we adequately repay that?” he said. “Simply put, we can’t. But what we can do is what we are doing right now.”
“Time and again, ‘happy Memorial Day.’ Well, nothing happy about today,” said Carl Marchese, commander of American Legion Post 349 in Mineola. He emphasized a sense of unity in honoring the United States’ fallen. “Labels that we hurl today like Democrat or Republican, red state and blue state matter little when facing mines or machine gun fire.”
Officials including state Sen. Anna M. Kaplan and Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso attended. Marchese also acknowledged Kevin Hartman, chief of operations at the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and Rob Connelly from Homeland Security.
Parade goers included the Boy Scouts of America. “We do this every year,” said Marco Randazzo, assistant scout master. He pointed out that Memorial Park holds plaques honoring the fallen from World War I to the Gulf War. He said he and his wife want their children and the Scouts to “know where their country comes from and where it’s going.”
The parade stepped off at Wilson Park. It wound through Westbury Avenue, Roslyn Road, Jericho Turnpike and Marcellus Road. The procession took its route as it does every year, without fail. Randazzo shows up the same way.
“They’re all special,” Randazzo said.