The 95th annual Great Neck Memorial Day Parade marched down Middle Neck Road on Monday, May 27. The parade concluded at the Village Green with a ceremony to honor those who have served, those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and those who are currently serving in the U.S. military.
Five divisions marched in the parade. The first division consisted of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Band, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Plebe Class, Grand Marshal Colonel David M. Lange, U.S. Air Force (retired), and a military vehicle that had belonged to Ray Plakstis, Jr., the former Village of Great Neck deputy mayor and 9/11-responder who passed away on Nov. 30. The driver of the vehicle, longtime family friend Dee Campbell, said that “as long as his family is still in town, it will be in the parade.”
The second division began at Overlook Avenue and was composed of the combined Great Neck fire companies. Tyler Plakstis, son of Ray Plakstis, Jr., rode with the fire departments.
The third division came from Hill Park Avenue and included young adults. The Great Neck South High School Rebel Marching Band performed and the Great Neck Boy Scouts of America troop and the Great Neck Association of Girl Scouts marched. The Great Neck Park District and Steppingstone Sailing Club also participated in this division.
The fourth division originated at Schenck Avenue and was composed of a diverse group, including Father Rene Tapel and Sharon Snorteland marching with St. Aloysius Church, Nancy Cheatham marching with St. Paul’s AME Church, Great Neck PAL, Great Neck Chinese Association and North Shore University Hospital Auxiliary led by Lisa Beriman and Lori Ballen.
The fifth division came from Pont Street and consisted of groups from various area synagogues, including Great Neck Synagogue led by Mark Twersky, Temple Israel of Great Neck led by Ofra Panzer, Brotherhood of Temple Beth-El led by Sandy Kaplan and Young Israel of Great Neck.
After the parade concluded around 11 a.m., the ceremony began. The Combined Color Guards opened the ceremony with a posting of colors and parade chair Louise McCann delivered the opening remarks.
“Memorial Day is not about barbecues and going to the beach, it is about remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” noted McCann.
Father Tapel then spoke about the importance of faith and honoring our veterans. Next, awards and honors were presented to many of the veterans in attendance.
The ceremony ended with thanks to the participants, organizers and local officials, as well as to Ray Plakstis, Jr., for all he did for the community.
Boy Scouts And Veterans Hold Memorial Ceremony
Great Neck Boy Scout troops, along with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, held a Memorial Day service to honor fallen veterans at All Saints Cemetery in Great Neck. Local officials were also in attendance, including Senator Anna Kaplan, Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso, Legislator Ellen Birnbaum, as well as Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Councilwomen Veronica Lurvey and Lee Seeman.