Great Neck To Host 97th Annual Day Memorial Day Parade

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    Memorial Day 2023 is fast approaching. The Great Neck Memorial Day Parade Committee is proud to announce today that the 97th Annual Memorial Day Parade is back post COVID-19 pandemic. Great Neck Parade Chair Louise McCann is excited to once again bring the parade “back to life”. She reminds all residents that the “meaning of Memorial Day is to honor, salute and remember all those who gave the “full measure” of devotion to our country.”

    Grand Marshal James Morehead, United States Navy veteran (Contributed photos)

    The parade will be held on Monday, May 29 rain or shine, to salute and honor all members of the United States military who have served and made the supreme sacrifice to protect our beloved country. The parade and ceremonies are held under the auspices of the Charles A. Fowler, Jr. American Legion Post #160, United States Merchant Marine Academy, Alert Engine, Hook, Ladder and Hose Co., #1 and Vigilant Engine and Hook and Ladder Company. Parade committee members include representatives from all participating organizations.

    The parade route commences at Susquehanna Avenue on Middle Neck Road at 9:30 a.m. and marches north to the Village Green. Commemorative ceremonies will be held at the Village Green. All participating community, service, educational, volunteer and religious groups will be announced as they pass the grandstand. There is no charge to participate in the parade. Great Neck residents are encouraged to stand along the parade route to show their appreciation to our service members and to those who make and have made Great Neck such a special place to live.

    James Morehead, United States Navy veteran, has been unanimously chosen as this year’s Grand Marshal. Jim grew up in Bayside and resided with his family for many years in Great Neck. He has been an active and guiding member of the parade committee for over 25 years. He said, “I am truly humbled and grateful to have been selected to be this year’s Grand Marshal. It has been my extreme honor and duty to ensure that the parade continues and that we honor those who have made the supreme sacrifice in defense of the country I love.”

    Upon graduation from high school, Jim enlisted in the US Navy. He reported to the US Pickering, a Navy destroyer, and was dispatched to the North Korean Coast where the ship maintained a shore bombardment around the country’s capital of Pyongyang.

    Following his discharge, he returned to civilian life and used many of the skills he learned in the Navy. Jim worked for many years for Bell System and then Merrill Lynch Communications. Jim is married to his lovely wife, Mary, for over 63 years; together they raised their family in Great Neck. He joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #372 in 1967 as well as the Capt. Charles A. Fowler, Jr. Post #160. He is the current Post Adjutant.

    The parade is also proudly dedicated to two Great Neck residents with whom many of us may or may not be familiar: John H. Starkins and Martha Raye.
    Sergeant Starkins was born in Great Neck in 1841 and was a first sergeant of the United States Army during the Civil War who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor. He was awarded the medal for gallantry during the American Civil War on 30 July 1896 for actions performed at the Battle of Campbell’s Station in Tennessee on 16 November 1863. He died on 4 April 1897 and is buried nearby at the Zion Episcopal Church Cemetery in Douglaston, Queens.

    Martha Raye is the well-known comic, actress and singer who performed in movies, on television and on Broadway. Her official nickname was “the Big Mouth”. The little-known fact is that she was affectionately called “Colonel Maggie”. Martha was deeply patriotic and was dedicated to our soldiers. After the start of World War II she became active in the USO, visiting troops on the front lines. During the Vietnam War she traveled into war zones. During one particular trip, she assisted on a helicopter evacuation of wounded soldiers while still under enemy fire. She then attended to the wounded as a combat nurse.

    Due to her extraordinary service to our active military, she was named an honorary member of the Special Forces and was awarded a Green Beret. Martha was also appointed as an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel by the United States Army and an Honorary Colonel by the United States Marine Corps. President Clinton awarded Martha the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993.
    At her request, and upon her passing, she was granted special consideration and was buried with full Military Honors at the Main Post Cemetery at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

    For further information about the parade, check us out at Great Neck Memorial Day Parade 2023 on our Facebook page or any questions at gnparades@gmail.com.

    —Submitted by the Great Neck
    Memorial Day Parade Committee

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