EASTCHESTER, N.Y. - Eastchester and Tuckahoe residents will have many opportunities to thank veterans for their service on Monday, as a daylong Memorial Day celebration is planned, spanning from Bronxville to Depot Square.
The festivities will start with Eastchester and Tuckahoe veterans marching in the Bronxville village parade. The parade begins at 9 a.m. in front of the hospital on the west side of town, proceeding down Pondfield Road, to the front of the Bronxville School. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts will join veterans laying wreaths around the flagpole to honor those who have fallen in war, while playing taps.
Robert Foster, the commander of VFW Post 2285 in Eastchester, said that attendance at Memorial Day events has been down in recent years, and that it’s important for people to come out and honor veterans.
“I’m really looking forward to a lot of people being there. It’s been disappointing the last few years; we keep getting less and less,” he said. “Memorial Day is a chance to show appreciation for the freedom we have. It’s a great chance to thank [veterans] for what they have done.”
After the Bronxville parade, there will be an 11:30 a.m. memorial service at Holy Mount Cemetery to further honor the fallen. Local politicians, residents and scouts will join veterans for services, and will then place flowers and American flags on veterans’ graves.
“It’s very touching, and it gives us the opportunity to replace the tattered flags on veterans’ graves,” Foster said.
The Eastchester-Tuckahoe Memorial Day parade will begin at 5 p.m., led by the Parris Island Marching Band. The band, which is coming from South Carolina to lead the parade, consists of 50 veterans who recently swapped their rifles for instruments. The parade will begin at the Eastchester Public Library, make its way south down Route 22 and end at Depot Square in Tuckahoe, where there will be a small ceremony and a concert in front of the Generoso Pope building.
“There will be a float with veterans on it, and there will be two school bands from Eastchester and Tuckahoe,” Foster said. “We have the Yonkers Military Band and two more fife and drum bands marching. Then the firemen and policemen and many organizations.”
Immediately following the parade, there will be a Memorial Day barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers and an ice cream truck. Any child who approaches a Marine on Monday at the barbecue and shakes his or her hand to thank them for their service will get a ticket for free ice cream.
Foster said that while many feel this holiday has become watered-down by food and celebrations, it allows Americans to enjoy the freedom that these veterans have fought to protect.
“People talk about how the holiday has lost its meaning with parades and barbecues,” Foster said. “But we can go out and have a ceremony because freedom gives us the opportunity to listen to the band, enjoy the parade and be with each other. It’s the most important thing this country has.”