The New Rochelle Memorial Day Parade and Picnic at Hudson Park, under the leadership of Peter Parente, President of the United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association, has become one of the best public events in Westchester County. The 2011 version did not disappoint.
The Memorial Day service was called to attention by Parente who served as Master of Ceremonies for the event. The invocation was given by William F. Moye, Chaplain of the UVMPW and past Commander of the Westchester VFW. The 96-year old Moye is a World War II veteran. Remarks were made by Mayor Noam Bramson, Commander Thomas O’Keefe of American Legion Post 8, and Former New York State Assemblyman Ronald C. Tocci. The keynote address was given by Brig. General Donald B. Smith. Max Gordon of New Rochelle High School played Taps. Parente and Bramson placed a wreath at the memorial at the center of Memorial Plaza.
Leading the parade was Grand Marshal Peter Parente followed by Honorary Grand Marshal’s Brig. General Smith and Brig. General Fermijon Marrero. Members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard from Fleet Week. The USS Iwo Jima and USS New York was represented. The 101st Signal Battalion Army based out of Yonkers, NY marched. Also marching was the Mayor and other elected officials from New Rochelle, the UVMPA Color Guard, the New Rochelle High School Marching Band, floats with veterans, children and New Rochelle residents. A fleet of vehicles from the New Rochelle Fire Department, New Rochelle Police Department and various County and State law enforcement organizations drove the route, lights and sirens blazing. A helicopter from the Westchester County Police Department made a surprise appearance, flying over the parade route. The USO Liberty Bells sang and the Greg Wescoff trio performed on their own floats. The IONA College Pipe Band marched and played. Miss Westchester 2011 Christina DeLeon and Miss Westchester Teen 2011 Samantha Gold waved to the crowds Members of Daisy Troop 7446, New Rochelle Girl Scouts, New Rochelle Boy Scouts Troop 40, U.S Naval Sea Cadets, the Trinity Elementary School Band and students and parents from Trinity, Columbus Elementary students and moms, the New Rochelle High School Cheerleaders and many others marched along the route. The parade route ended at Hudson Park.
At Hudson Park there was a Waterfront Ceremony. Andrea Bennett sang the Star Spangled Banner. Peter Parente made an introduction for remarks by Brig. General Fermijon Marrero. There was a benediction by Bill Moye, a Salute to the Dead with the American Legion Post 8 Firing Detail and a “Lost at Sea” ceremony by Unit 8 of the Ladies Auxiliary. Taps was played by Barbara Granata and Staff Sergeant Kenny Barnes. Amazing Grace was performed by the IONA College Pipe Band.
Food and drinks were provided to the men and women invited from Fleet Week. The general public were invited to sample food from AJ’s Burgers, Pronto Pizza, and the Post Road Ale House. There were musical performances throughout the day starting with the USO Liberty Bells, West Point Jazz Knights, A to Z Band and Third Stone. Dennis Nardone served as emcee.
A highlight was the dramatic arrival of a CH-46 Sea Knight U.S. Marine helicopter which circled Hudson Park before landing in the parking lot near the New Rochelle Rowing Club. The CH-46 is a medium-lift tandem rotor transport helicopter, used by the United States Marine Corps primarily to provide assault transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment. Hundreds of children and former children lined up anxiously to inspect the aircraft up close and from the inside.
United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association is comprised of American Legion Post 8, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 439, Macio Bacon Post 2882, VFW Disabled American War Veterans Chapter 172, Purple Heart Chapter 21, Masonic War Veterans Post 31, Jewish War Veterans Post 42, Combat Infantrymen’s Association, and Korean Veterans. Emeritus members are Flandreau Post 509, GAR Spanish War Veterans Camp 37, Queen City 1381, American Legion Catholic War Veterans Post 212.
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