It was such a beautiful day in our country and our community. Community members took a break from their picnics, left their barbeques, and joined together in town to celebrate Memorial Day at the annual parade and ceremony. As the Memorial Day parade began, hundreds of community members lined the streets of downtown Chappaqua to watch the procession move down the hill.
Among the participants in the parade were Federal, New York State, and Westchester County Dignitaries, World War II, Vietnam War, and Iraq-Afghanistan War Veterans, the Chappaqua Girl Scouts, Brownies, and Daisy Troops, the Chappaqua and Millwood Fire Companies, the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the school bands, and other community organizations. The community-wide event epitomized what Chappaqua stands for, as it captured the diversity, talent, and pure energy of our town.* Bill and Hillary Clinton, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and more region and town board representatives marched in a row behind Grand Marshal Captain James McCauley who has been leading the parade for nearly 20 years.
PHOTOS BY HANNAH ROSENBERG
As the parade ended, the crowd made its way towards the Chappaqua Train Station where the Memorial Plaza Ceremony was held. Here, the entire community came together to remember those who died bravely fighting for our country. Dogs barked at the sound of drums while they rolled in the grass, children waved their miniature American flags, and members of the crowd listened intently to the speakers of the afternoon. Some of the events included prayers being recited, the Horace Greeley High School Band beautifully playing the “Star Spangled Banner,” the reading of two New Castle World War II Veterans’ biographies by the Chappaqua Girl Scouts, the reading of the Honor Roll of the Town of New Castle War Dead, and a speech from Colonel John Graham. In Colonel John Graham’s speech, he reminded the town that Memorial Day is not Veterans Day, but rather a day to honor and remember the brave individuals who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom. “1.3 million Americans have given their lives in the 245 years since Lexington and Concord so that the rest of us can live free,” he said. “More often than not, these heroes have been ordinary citizens who answered the nation’s call when we needed them the most.” A sense of reverence could be felt emanating from the crowd of people in response to these remarks.
All across the country, the efforts of fallen soldiers will be remembered, their sacrifices will be appreciated, and their lives will be honored. As a nation, and as a community, we will celebrate the lives of those who fought for our country and perished protecting the sacred concept of freedom. In Chappaqua, community members from every walk of life—from the parents carrying their new-born infant in an American flag onesie, to Bill Clinton, a former President of the United States— made it a priority to come together and spend Memorial Day united as a town. Anyone who attended the parade and ceremony was able to gauge the values, passion, and love shared by our community members. Together, with our American flags and Chappaqua pride, we reflected on the important sacrifices that have been made by brave women and men whose names will forever be synonymous with “hero.”
*‘Behind the scenes there is a great deal of time and effort that goes into organizing the parade too, noted New Castle Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein. This year, a Memorial Day Committee included Peter Gaudet, Barbara Jenkel, David Egerton, Dr. Michael Finkelstein, Lori Townsend and Eric Rosenfeld, as well as Town Administrator Jill Shapiro and Ciara Gannon all of whom were instrumental, per the town of New Castle.
Inside Press intern Julia Bialek is a rising senior at Horace Greeley High School where she is also the Managing Editor of the Greeley Tribune.
Additional photos by Hannah Rosenberg (HGHS ’19) for the Inside Press below and on Facebook’s Inside Chappaqua and Inside Armonk page):https://www.facebook.com/pg/theinsidepress/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156481813673669