Williston Park celebrates the Fourth

Williston Park celebrates the Fourth

Early morning clouds appeared threatening, but when the Williston Park Independence Day parade stepped off from Broad Street onto Hillside Avenue last Thursday morning, the sun broke through the clouds, glinting off the musicians’ instruments and the camera lenses of residents gathered to watch.

A color guard from the Williston Park American Legion Post 144 led the line of march, followed by veterans of both the local American Legion post and Albertson VFW Post 5253.

The parade also included the Inis Fada pipe and drum band from Mineola, which preceded members of the Williston Park Fire Department and the Long Island Brass & Percussion band, which accompanied members of the Albertson Fire Department. 

Inis Fada played a medley of patriotic songs, including “America the Beautiful”, “Over There” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to the evident delight of a modest crowd of onlookers.

Members of the Mineola Knights of Columbus and Herricks Boy Scout Troop 201 were also in the parade along with an array of fire trucks from both fire departments, including a vintage 1955 model from Albertson and a 1947 truck maintained by the Williston Park department.

Village of Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar marched in the parade along with village trustees Kevin Rynne, Michael Uttaro, village justice Kevin Kiley and state Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square).

The parade continued west on Hillside then proceeded north to Center Street, and east on Center Street to Willis Avenue, continuing south on Willis Avenue to its final destination at the Williston Park Fire Department headquarters.

Williston Park Fire Department Chief George Jaroncyk welcomed everyone to the July 4th observance. 

Williston Park Fire Department Assistant Chief Tony Gagliardo led the pledge of allegiance. And Williston Park’s resident “nightingale” Rosemarie Farrar delivered a stirring rendition of the national anthem.

Ehrbar spoke briefly during the ceremony, read a poem he said someone had sent him in an anonymous e-mail. The poem included the lines,

“I heard the sound of ‘Taps’ one night, when everything was still.

I listened to the bugler play and felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times that ‘Taps’ had meant ‘Amen.’

When a flag had draped a coffin I thought of all the children,

Of the mothers and the wives, of fathers, sons and husbands, brothers, sisters or a friend

With interrupted lives.’

The theme of the poem recurred in a single line: “No freedom isn’t free.”

“We know that in the 237 years of this country, we haven’t gotten through without sacrifice,” said Ra,  who was the event’s featured speaker. “This is one day that brings us together and we focus on what we share together rather than what separates us.”

While people celebrated the holiday with barbecues or other activities, Ra said, “Keep in mind how we got here and I hope we can keep this sense of community through the year.”

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