Despite gloomy skies and damp weather, Great Neck proudly celebrated Veterans Day with a parade that stepped off from the Alert Firehouse at 10:45 a.m. Led by a formal color guard, members of the Alert, Vigilant and Manhasset-Lakeville Fire companies, members of local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 372 and American Legion Post 160, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, Town of North Hempstead Councilwomen Lee R. Seeman and Anna M. Kaplan, RAD James A. Helis, Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Pastor Rene Tapel from St. Aloysius Church and Great Neck Parks Commissioner Frank Cilluffo, along with Great Neck boy and girl Scout troops, marched to the Village Green.
Well wishers on the sidewalks applauded the parade and waved flags as it passed by. At precisely 11 a.m., in front of the Wall of Remembrance, Parade Chair Louis McCann, Commander of Charles A. Fowler American Legion Post #160, spoke of America’s “debt of honor,” a phrase originally used by our first president, George Washington. President Washington urged American citizens to care for our nation’s soldiers, stating that it was our “sacred duty—a common debt, our debt of honor.” In her remarks, Commander McCann spoke of remembering and honoring all the servicemen and servicewomen who have served our country with valor and those who continue to serve around the world to keep America safe and free. She thanked everyone who marched in the parade as well as the residents who came out in support. All the elected officials reminded us to remember that the price of freedom in America is no longer free and that freedom is a privilege that requires constant vigilance.
Commander McCann implored everyone to continue showing support for those in the armed services who are currently serving to keep America safe as well as strong in the future, and to remember those who fought in the past and allowed us to have the freedoms we enjoy today.