Despite the cancellation of the 2013 New York City Fleet Week due to sequestration budget cuts, the 13th Annual Greenpoint Veterans Memorial Parade will step off, as scheduled, at 9:00 A.M. on Sunday, May 26th, from the St. Stanislaus Memorial American Legion Post #1771 (519 Leonard Street between Nassau and Driggs Avenues). The parade is co-sponsored by Lexington Council #293, Knights of Columbus, and several community organizations.
The parade will proceed up Nassau Avenue to Manhattan Avenue and continue to St. Anthony’s Church at Milton Street, where the 9:30 A.M. Sunday Mass will be celebrated for all U.S. Veterans, living and deceased. Following the Mass, the parade will re-form and retrace the same route down Manhattan Avenue back to the Post, where a brief Memorial Service, Flag-raising and moment of silence will pay tribute to our Veterans.
Yes, there will be something missing from this year’s parade – the marching units of Active Duty Sailors and Marines who usually join us from the ships in port for Fleet Week festivities. The parade and refreshments following, including a USO Show by the Liberty Belles show troupe, are a gift from Greenpoint to our Sailors and Marines, many most likely on their first visits to New York City from all around the country.
What will we do instead? The Parade Committee has reached out to local military activities to participate in the parade, and to provide the same appreciation to those who serve on active duty in our own backyard: Navy Recruiting District, New York and New Jersey; the 1st Marine Corps District; Fort Hamilton Army Base; McGuire Air Force Base and local Recruiters of all military services.
We have also reached out to the large Veteran population in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg communities to step up and march in place of our active duty personnel and bring credit to their individual services. We are aware that we also have a significant Disabled Veteran population in our neighborhood, male and female, who, for whatever reason, may feel neglected or unwelcome to join us.
Today is not like the Vietnam Era, when returning service personnel were harassed and even spat upon. That is behind us, and good riddance! In the Post-9/11 world, as a nation, we have come to appreciate the sacrifices of all our service members in the theatres of Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly considering that they all volunteered for service to their country. The parade is an opportunity to show your pride in service, and for our community to show our pride in you. Step up, step out, and march with us to fill the depleted ranks of our comrades on active duty today. Can’t march? Come watch!
The American Legion is a service organization for all Veterans. We are fortunate that our local Post has two of the best and most knowledgeable Service Officers in New York City. Consider the parade an “Open House.” Come see what we’re all about. There will be no sales pitch – the welcome, camaraderie, counseling and social activities of the American Legion sell themself!
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