The day was misty and chilly, but that was not enough to dampen the spirits of around 200 people who came out on Sunday to march, cheer for and honor the men and women who serve our country.
The annual Memorial Day Parade and Observance on Emmons Avenue, organized by the Sheepshead Bay / Plum Beach Civic Association, was a festive occasion full of flag-waving, smiles and revving of motorcycle and antique car engines. Students from P.S. 52 and adults from the new AHRC Stephen B. Siegel center marched alongside members of local veterans and community organizations such as the Jewish War Veterans and the Knights of Columbus.
“We come out every year,” said Dorothy Scarpati, who, with husband, Captain Michael Scarpati, stood on the sidewalk, waving to parade-goers. “It’s an event for everybody to get together and show unity as Americans.”
This year’s event was attended by less than last year’s, which attracted around 500 participants, partially due to weather and several other neighborhood events sharing the same date. But that’s not stopping the SB/PB Civic’s members, who doggedly seek to revitalize a neighborhood tradition that has faded over the years.
“Today was good. I expected more, but the weather [kept people away],” said SB/PB Civic Boardmember Tom Scalese. “We’ll keep getting the word out, advertising with [local organizations] and local politicians. We’ll make it bigger and better.”
As the procession approached the war memorial at Driscoll Tucker Park, the mood turned somber, with family members tossing pink, red and white carnations into the bay as the Patriot Brass Ensemble and Barry Berger of the Disabled American Veterans played military taps.
Attendees included veterans from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean Conflict, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. This year’s Grand Marshall was WWII Navy veteran Thomas Bowers.
Honorees included seven local veterans: Salvatore Anthony Mollo of the U.S. Marine Corp., WWII Navy machinist Vincent Cerkanowitz, 61st Precinct Auxiliary Officer and U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Colon, U.S. Army Corporal Edward Eisenberg, U.S. Army Corporal Anthony Dragotto, 2nd Lieutenant Harold J. Anderson of the U.S. Army Air Corp., and WWII Air Force member Howard Ehrenman.
Students from the Midwood High School Marching Band and Junior ROTC members from Fort Hamilton High School marched and supported the observance, as well.
Four students from P.S. 52 also received awards for their winning entries in the annual “What Memorial Day Means To Me” Essay and Drawing contests.
Here’s a photo gallery of the event: