Excitement builds as town officials and residents prepare for the annual celebration.
By Justin Ellick
Photos by Grace Bennett
Chappaqua, NY– Memorial Day weekend is often looked at as the official start of summer. That’s no different here in Chappaqua, as adults and children are already in the throes of another activity and barbeque-filled weekend.
But there is something a little different about this weekend in New Castle than elsewhere. There is a palpable excitement we all feel about living in a community which holds an annual world class parade that has in different years attracted key public officials whether it’s our state Assemblyman David Buchwald and Governor Andrew Cuomo or, of course, Chappaqua’s most famous couple, Bill and Hillary Clinton. All the while, the meaning of Memorial Day and why we actually celebrate it is always first and foremost in the hearts and minds of New Castle residents.
“New Castle always honors our veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made,” said Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein. “It’s important that people see Memorial Day as more than just a checkpoint for the beginning of summer, and the parade does a good job of getting that message across to the community.”
The parade will commence at 10:30 a.m. on the corner of King Street and Bedford Road for the “Victory Corners” Ceremony, in which the Marshal will call the parade to attention and recite the opening prayer. The march will start at this moment, as the parade will move off of Ridgewood Terrace and down into the heart of Chappaqua, eventually coming to a stop at the Chappaqua Train Station at around 11:30 a.m.. This is where the “Memorial Plaza” Ceremony will be held, in which the Marshal will again bring the parade to attention for Invocation, as well as for various recognitions, readings, speakers, performers, and eventually the dismissal of the parade as a whole.
The line of March will consist of 25 participants, including the middle and high school bands, town board members, youth sports organizations, volunteer groups, and of course the veterans we’re meant to honor. Most attendees, though, will be on the lookout for one guest in particular: 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“It’s always a privilege when we have a former Secretary of State and Senator march in our parade,” continued Greenstein. “This year you can add Presidential candidate if she appears. I tell my kids the large turnout is for me. Needless to say, they know I’m kidding. In fact, they don’t even look at me. Everyone is always just so excited to see Hillary, as am I.”
It’s not confirmed whether or not Hillary, who is a resident of Chappaqua, will indeed make an appearance at the parade, but the fact that she hasn’t missed it in ten years gives some hope to her supporters in the area that might be trying to catch a glimpse of the possible future POTUS.
Hillary or no Hillary, Monday will be a special day here in Chappaqua, as together we celebrate the start of summer and those who paid the ultimate price so we could enjoy it freely.
Greeley grad Justin Ellick, a sophomore Media and Communications Major at Ursinus College in Philadelphia, is an intern for Inside Chappaqua and Inside Armonk Magazines this summer.