For over 24 years, Bay Ridge has honored our nation’s veterans on Memorial Day. That storied tradition will continue with the 149th Annual Kings County Memorial Day Parade and this year, it promises to be its biggest one yet.
Hosted by the United Military Veterans of Kings County, the parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 30 at Bay Ridge Parkway and Third Avenue. From there, it will make its way to John Paul Jones Park, 101st Street and Fourth Avenue.
Parade Chairperson Raymond Aalbue has always been thankful that Brooklynites and Bay Ridge residents have shown up to remember the troops. “The people of Bay Ridge have supported us through those years. And we really appreciate that support,” he said, adding that the parade committee wants to reach out to the entire borough. “A lot of people from all of Brooklyn come to march in the parade. We want to reach out to the entire borough since it’s a Brooklyn parade. We invite all people from Brooklyn, especially all the veterans from Brooklyn, to come and march in the parade or to view it along the parade route.”
Along with the parade’s long-standing traditions, such as the return of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, there will also be additions.
“One thing that’s exciting is that we’re going to have the U.S. Military Academy Band also known as the West Point Band lead the parade,” Aalbue said. “We also have more school groups marching in the parade.”
Another addition to the parade is the presence of more floats, a total of four instead of just one that appeared last year. “There will be ones for Vietnam veterans, Korean War vets, Catholic War Vets, and United Military vets,” he said. Vintage military vehicles will be on display.
More bands will also be featured, including two new pipe and drum corps.
Towards the end of a parade, attendees can expect a touching moment. “We have a very emotional memorial service to honor the hundreds of thousands of men and women who died in service to their country,” Aalbue said.
This year’s grand marshal is the Honorable Jerome D. Cohen, a WWII veteran. Deputy grand marshals are Gulf War Veteran Dr. Charles E. Hall; Deputy Inspector Ray Festino, chief of detectives Brooklyn South, who had previously been the commander of Bay Ridge’s 68th Precinct; and local activist Frankie Marra, who has done fundraisers the past few years to make sure the parade kept on marching.
Special guests include the New York State Veteran Corps of Artillery, United States Air Force, Honor Guard, and America’s Tenor Daniel Rodriguez.
Aalbue encourages all vets to take part in the parade. “You don’t have to be a member of a veteran service organization to march,” he said. “It’s going to be very well received and we want to make sure everybody remembers all those that died in service throughout.”
For more information, visit www.brooklynmemorialdayparade.com.