New Hyde Park honors the fallen on Memorial Day

New Hyde Park honors the fallen on Memorial Day
The Village of New Hyde Park held their annual Memorial Day parade Saturday, May 28 before conducting ceremonies at village hall and memorial park. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Takacs)

Residents in the New Hyde Park area spent the hot three-day weekend observing Memorial Day at the many parades and ceremonies held locally. 

Things got started Saturday morning when the New Hyde Park Fire Department held a ceremony at its headquarters on Jericho Turnpike to honor and remember those who served their country and community. 

A parade route then began on Hillside Avenue at 9:30 a.m. involving village and town officials, first responders, the New Hyde Park – Ernie Pyle American Legion Post 1089, Scout troops and community groups, among others. 

At the Memorial Park ceremony, Mayor Chris Devane reiterated the true meaning of the holiday.

“While we enjoy the barbecues and gatherings over this weekend, let’s take time to pause and reflect on what Memorial Day is really about,” Devane said. “Memorial Day’s an annual day of remembrance for those who made the supreme sacrifice in service to our country. This is the day we set aside to honor those who sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy the gatherings we have this weekend and throughout the year.”

In Floral Park, residents were treated Monday morning to a great showing of pride for both the country and community while listening to remarks from a war hero. 

The Memorial Day parade and ceremony, held in conjunction with the Floral Park American Legion 334 and the village, began on Elizabeth Street at 10 a.m. Village trustees led the procession through Jericho Turnpike, South Tyson Avenue and finally onto Tulip Avenue, where marchers were met with a swarm of red, white and blue.

Participants in the parade included the Floral Park Memorial High School Band, the Knights of Columbus, Our Lady of Victory’s Rosary Altar Society, Little Leaguers and Scout troops, among others.

When the parade reached its end point at Veterans Memorial Park outside Our Lady of Victory on Tulip, a ceremony was held honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

A Prisoner of War/Missing in Action remembrance was held, holding moments of silence for each of the Floral Park residents who never came home after serving in World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam. 

Village Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald spoke on the importance of the sacrifices made for the continued exceptionalism of the country. 

“Today is an essential day rooted deep in our nation’s history. Our deepest gratitude goes to the fallen men and women who gave the citizens of the United States a chance to make this world a better place,” Fitzgerald said. “Memorial Day is a time of remembrance and occasion for the continued understanding by our current and future generations, the depth of the sacrifices made by those individuals who gave their last full measure for all of us.”

The parade’s grand marshal, Leonard Jindra, described his experience joining the service and storming Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. 

Jindra talked about saving up money for hernia surgery after failing a physical examination, being sent to Georgia for basic training and leaving from New York Harbor on a 12-day trip for Liverpool. 

He was a member of Company F, 2nd Battalion, 115th Infantry Regiment in the 29th Infantry Division. Jindra recounted the screams and scenes he heard and saw on the beach as German soldiers hid behind hedgehogs, or German-built steel obstructions, to attack the incoming boats. 

“That beach is small and the hill is not too high,” Jindra said, speaking about when he visited after the war. “But at the time, it was long and bitter. But we made it.”

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