By Justin Ellick
Memorial Day weekend is commonly looked at as the official kick-off of summer. Things are no different in Chappaqua, as families across the township are already in the throes of another fun and activity-filled weekend.
But there is a uniqueness when it comes to Memorial Day weekend in New Castle as opposed to anywhere else. There is a distinct excitement we all feel about living in a community that holds an annual world class parade that in recent years has attracted key public officials like Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Assemblyman David Buchwald, County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz, and, of course, Chappaqua’s most famous couple, Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Whatever the year or the turnout, the meaning of Memorial Day and why we celebrate it is always first and foremost in the hearts and minds of New Castle residents on this special weekend.
“Memorial Day is a day to pay tribute to all the military men and women who have died fighting for our freedom,” said New Castle Town Supervisor Rob Greenstein of the festivities.
“Those who gave their lives represent all different races, religions and backgrounds. Let’s honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting four our founding principles and use the opportunity to promote diversity, inclusion and love,” continued Greenstein. “I encourage all members of the community to bring signs that symbolize the diversity, inclusion and quest for peace that those soldiers America lost had fought so valiantly to preserve. And, because we will have our armed forces and veterans joining us, let’s show our honored guests what we stand for.”
The parade will commence at 10:30 a.m. on the corner of Bedford Road and King Street for the “Victory Corners” Ceremony, in which the Grand Marshal will call the parade to attention. At this moment the march will start, as the parade will move off 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 entirely.
The line of March will consist of the middle and high school bands, town board members, youth sports organizations, volunteer groups, and of course the veterans we’re meant to honor, among other participants as well. Many attendees and visitors to town will also be on the lookout for Chappaqua’s celebrated neighbors, “the Clintons,” and perhaps in particular for 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
It’s not confirmed whether Clinton, who is a resident of Chappaqua, will indeed make an appearance this year at the parade, but the fact that she hasn’t missed it in 11 years gives some hope to her followers in the area that might be trying to catch a glimpse of the former Secretary of State. Regardless of who is marching, Monday promises to be a special day here in Chappaqua, as we celebrate the beginning of summer and the lives of those who paid the ultimate price so we can enjoy it in peace and freedom.
Greeley grad Justin Ellick, who has completed a junior year majoring in Media and Communications Major at Ursinus College in Philadelphia, joins Inside Chappaqua and Inside Armonk Magazines for a second internship this summer.