My Memorial Day March
When I was in the Boy Scouts, we also took part in the neighborhood Memorial Day parade. The parade was a mile long and included the Boy Scouts, Cub Scout, Girls Scouts, Brownies, Sea Scouts, police and VFW members, and of course, the school marching bands. We marched for 5 miles on our main drag in eastern Queens, Union Turnpike down to Hillside Avenue next to the Cross Island Parkway, to the VFW hall. We were about 1.5 miles from Belmont Raceway. Almost all of our fathers and grandfathers, and some moms and grandmothers, served in either WWII or WWI and we pounded the pavement just for them. It was hot and uncomfortable in those uniforms and several times we were tempted to doff our constricting neckerchiefs, but you don’t do that in a parade, especially one honoring our war vets. After all, being a little hot under the collar can’t compare to the sacrifice these brave souls made. By the time we trudged those last steps to the VFW hall some of the scoutmasters would tease us by saying, “OK boys, time to walk back home!” before they loaded us in the cars. But not before they went inside for a couple of cold ones…and we were stuck with soda. It was a great day.