Thousands of people gathered at North Hempstead Beach Park Saturday to mark Memorial Day and observe a display of fireworks above Hempstead Harbor.
The beach was filled with chairs and umbrellas, kids playing beach volleyball and youngsters running in the sand as residents enjoyed the sunshine and listened to live music of covers such as “Valerie” and “Africa.”
Food trucks were strewn throughout the walkways, offering Sausage Kings, Trini Bites, ice cream and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
The activities kicked off with a Memorial Day performance by the Nassau County Police Emerald Society Pipes & Drums, which rallied the attendees to honor veterans, active military members and those killed in wars.
The United States Marine Corps League of Port Washington presented the colors as pipes and drums played.
“It’s a special and memorable time here in the town when we are able to honor and commemorate our veterans and the fallen heroes who fought to protect our freedom here in America and to also honor their families,” North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Parks and Service Unit, which was then followed by the National Anthem sung by Anoush Hogan, a Manhasset High School alumnus and a junior at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
While the celebration on a sunny day along the shore was a sort of summer kick-off for many attendees, North Hempstead Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte reminded them that the true reason for the celebration was to honor the military’s men and women who devote their lives to protecting their country. She urged residents to take the time to thank them during the weekend.
“But the real reason why we’re here is because Memorial Day is a time for us to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service to our country,” Dalimonte said. “My deep thanks go to all those who served and sacrificed, have protected our freedom and safeguarded our democracy.”
Town Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey said she is proud to be a part of a community that prioritizes honoring its military members.
“We honor and we remember and we express our heartfelt gratitude for those who have fought for our country, to those who have fallen in the name of freedom and those who continue to do so today,” Lurvey said.