The 95th annual Great Neck Memorial Day Parade will be held on Monday, May 27, to honor U.S. military members who have served and died to protect their country. Both active and veteran members of all branches of the U.S. military, along with community groups, will march down Middle Neck Road from Susquehanna Avenue to the Village Green beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Under the auspices of the Charles A. Fowler, Jr., American Legion Post #160; Gilliar-Norwill Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #372; U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; Alert Engine, Hook, Ladder and Hose Co. #1; and Vigilant Engine and Hook and Ladder, the parade traditionally attracts hundreds of residents from the community, offering an opportunity to honor members of the military and recognize their service.
This year’s grand marshal is Colonel David M. Lange, U.S. Air Force (retired), who grew up in Great Neck and is a graduate of Saddle Rock Elementary School, North Middle and North High School. He entered the Air Force on July 6, 1984, as a cadet at the USAF Academy. Following graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant on June 1, 1988.
Lange served as an officer in the Active Duty Air Force for 30 years, retiring on June 1, 2018. He is a decorated combat veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Allied Force and has flown numerous combat and humanitarian missions.
He is a member of many volunteer military organizations, including the American Legion Post and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was awarded the Institute of Navigation Superior Achievement Award, recognizing him as the top navigator in the Department of Defense.
“It has been my extreme honor to have served in the U.S. Air Force to protect the country I love so dearly,” said Lange. “And that is only exceeded by being chosen by the Great Neck Memorial Day Parade Committee to serve as this year’s grand marshal of the Memorial Day Parade.”
This year’s parade will also include local volunteer organizations, including social, religious, nonprofit and student-based musical groups.
“In the spirit of this most important national holiday, I ask all Great Neck residents to remember that the true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor those who gave the full measure of devotion to our country,” said Great Neck Parade Committee Chair Louise M. McCann. “We must always honor them and remember that we are marching in their memory.”
Great Neck veterans are encouraged to participate in the parade and ride in a lead car at the head of the parade. Attending veterans will be given a place of honor with special seating on the Village Green. All Great Neck organizations are also encouraged to participate in the parade—free of charge. To reserve a seat for a veteran or to register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzette Gray has been involved with the parade for five years to give back to Great Neck—and because her parents met and fell in love during WWII. Her father was in the U.S. Army and her mother was in the French Resistance.