Despite on and off rain showers, and nearly a week of challenging weather forecasts, hundreds of marchers from participating units and spectators still came out in support of Brooklyn’s historic 150th Memorial Day Parade in remembrance of the many thousands of members of the armed services that were killed defending the freedoms and democracy of this great nation.
It was quite a milestone, from the early beginnings of this particular Memorial Day Parade back in 1867, when Brooklyn was an independent city and then the third largest in the nation. This parade is one of the oldest, continuous Memorial Day parades in the country.
This year’s lead musical contingent was the Henry Ford II High School Marching Band from Sterling, Michigan. Among other major bands were the U.S. Military Academy West Point Marching Band, the Fort Hamilton High School marching regiment and the school’s Army Junior ROTC cadets, the James Madison High School Band and the McKinley Junior High School Band.
There were also a record eight floats, several carrying veterans from prior wars. Colonel Peter Sicoli, the U.S. Army garrison commander at Fort Hamilton, was the 2017 reviewing officer.
Immediately following the parade, there was a somber memorial service inside John Paul Jones Park, followed by a 21-gun cannon salute. The program also included the national anthem sung by America’s Tenor and former 68th Precinct NYPD Officer Danny Rodriguez, wreath layings and echo Taps by two FHHS trumpeters.
One of the oldest groups represented in the parade was the Society of Old Brooklynites which has marched reportedly in every Memorial Day Parade since its founding in 1880.
The late World War II Navy veteran and civic leader Howard Dunn, a past grand marshal of the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade and a member of several veterans’ service organizations and community groups, will be memorialized with a co-naming of the southwest corner of 78th Street and Third Avenue, on Saturday, June 3, at 11 a.m.