In the spirit of the famous recruitment poster of Uncle Sam saying, “I Want You,” all military veterans from Brooklyn and Staten Island are encouraged to join our nation’s oldest annual Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 29.
The 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day march kicks off at 11 a.m. in Bay Ridge. If you need a ride due to advanced age or a handicap, one will be waiting for you. You will also be welcome to ride aboard one of the six floats or vintage cars along the parade route. In addition to several marching contingents and 10 bands, Fleet Week sailors and Marines will participate.
In 1866, some villages and small towns held events where people placed flowers on the graves of Civil War soldiers for Decoration Day. However, no big city actually held a Memorial Day parade. In fact, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, a small town in upstate New York, as the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. However, not a Memorial Day parade.
Brooklyn’s Memorial Day parade was founded in 1867, when Brooklyn was an independent city. It was organized by Brooklyn veterans from the Grand Army Republic, the predecessors of the present-day United Military Veterans of Kings County. This year, the lead veterans’ group will be from the VFW.
Veterans who need a ride can call 631-946-6249.
While Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day salute our men and women in uniform, there is no “happy” Memorial Day. It is a solemn occasion to remember America’s fallen heroes. Right after the parade, there will be a memorial service in John Paul Jones Park, concluding with a 21-gun salute and the sounding of “Taps.”
Also in fond tribute, the National Moment of Remembrance Commission urges everyone to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. for a minute of silence.