A few drops of rain certainly couldn't dampen the patriotic spirit of Massapequa today, as droves of local residents turned out for the annual Memorial Day parade. But luckily, by the time the parade got underway, the skies had cleared and the sun had come out.
The parade is an annual event held to give thanks to the men and women who serve this country in a variety of capacities, including military, civil, and volunteer service.
The inspiring event, which drew hundreds of participants and spectators alike, started on front Street in Massapequa Park and followed a route up Park Boulevard and down Clark Avenue, finally coming to an end at Klestinec Parklet on North Broadway.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY 3rd District) was on-hand for the parade, and expressed his admiration for those who tirelessly protect our way of life every day.
"Massapequa is a great community," he said. "I think they, as much as any community, respect and appreciate the great sacrifices of the men and women in the armed forces make. I think it's important for us to take time out and acknowledge that."
Among the groups marching in today's parade were the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Marine Corps, the American Legion Post 1066, Amvets Post 88, the Massapequa fire department, Canine Companions for Independence, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and several local Boy and Girl scout troops.
Also marching were local politicians, such as Massapequa Park mayor James Altadonna, 12th District assemblyman Joseph Saladino, Town of Oyster Bay supervisor John Venditto, and congressman King.
Ann Devereaux was on the sidelines with her husband and son, American flags in hand.
"My son is marching in the parade with his Boy Scout troop. We always come, and we like it," she said. "We come to support the town, support the veterans."
Dorothy Corro stood on Park Boulevard, clearly emotionally moved as the parade slowly passed her by.
"It's Memorial Day...members of our service that died for us in all the wars, so you come out for them," she said. "It's a sad day for people that lost loved ones. A very sad day for them."
Jerry Trotta was here to support family members who had served in the military.
"We're here to celebrate the veterans," he said. "My father-in-law was a Marine, my dad was in the Army, they all served in wars, so I'm just down here to celebrate them and the other soldiers."
What getting the chance to march in this parade means to any veteran of the armed forces can easily be summed up by the sentiment expressed by U.S. Army vet Fred Wertz of Massapequa.
"Last year was the first year I marched in this parade," he said. "When I came back from Vietnam, I wouldn't even wear my uniform...everybody thought we were baby killers. Last year I marched in this parade for the first time, and I was just overwhelmed by the people's support, thanking us for our service. It was wonderful."