A Day of Joyful Remembrance:
Crowds lined up early to watch the first Memorial Day Parade in Rye in over 40 years on May 26.
— by Robin Jovanovich
Crowds lined up early to watch the first Memorial Day Parade in Rye in over 40 years on May 26. It wasn’t just the children who were excited as veterans and officials, along with Scouts, leaders of Rye’s nonprofits, firemen, and the Patriot Brass Band, marched from Station Plaza to the Village Green for the annual American Legion Post 128 Ceremony. Longtime residents rode in shiny restored vehicles, many courtesy of Rye Ford Subaru.
In the excitement, no one forgot that this was Memorial Day — the day the Roll of Honor is read, the Gettsyburg Address recited, the National Anthem sung, when memorial wreaths are placed near the names of those who served in past wars, and a soulful high school bugler plays Taps.
Rye’s Ceremonies are always special times of reflection, a pause in our ordinary occupations. We hold a special place in our hearts for the World War II veterans and worry about the ones who aren’t there this year. We are heartened by the number of veterans of more recent wars who have joined Post 128.
But this Memorial Day was made even more special because of the display of what Mayor Joe Sack aptly described as “patriotic fervor” in his remarks at the podium outside City Hall.
Caps off to Robin Latimer, Parade organizer, and her band of longtime residents (see her letter of thanks on page 2) for reviving a wonderful small-town tradition.
In her address, Rye Historical Society Executive Director Sheri Jordan spoke of the importance of preserving Rye’s history and community memory. “We need to understand our veterans’ history, the conflicts they fought in, and the choices they made.” In the nationally recognized World War II exhibit at the Square House that closed on Memorial Day after a banner year of programs, visitors were given the ability to feel some of what Rye’s World War II veterans felt. “The exhibit bridged the gap between knowing and understanding history,” said Jordan.
Chris Maloney and Dan Kelly, recipients of this years’ Americanism Award, deserve medals for providing the personal stories of so many of the 1,438 men and women who served in World War II through their Rye WWII Veterans Project. They and a stalwart group of volunteers went through census, medical, and Social Security records on a mission to find out more about the 46 men who died while serving their country. In accepting the award, Maloney said, “When Tom Hanks was interviewed about his interest in World War II, he was asked, ‘Is there anything worse than dying in the war?’ Hanks replied, ‘Yes, not being remembered.’”
There were over 90 submissions from Rye High School students to the John M. Kingery Memorial Essay Contest this year. The winner is always given the chance to read his or her essay. “The Price of Freedom” was the title of winner Kana White’s essay. She reminded us that our soldiers not only protect America, but try to spread our values.