May 23, 2020
I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Memorial Day. Today, we observed Memorial Day in New Hyde Park a little differently than how we normally do. We didn’t have a parade – which was probably a good thing because it poured!
We did have our traditional services at Village Hall and at Memorial Park where the American Legion laid a wreath at each site to honor the 56 young men from New Hyde Park who lost their lives defending our country. The name of each young man (most died in their twenties) was read from the steps of Village Hall. Despite the heavy downpour, a fair number of hearty residents, Boy Scouts among them, turned out at Village Hall. All were separated by safe distances and wearing masks for their neighbors’ protection. Their presence was a testament to the enduring love and respect New Hyde Park has for our fallen sons.
Memorial Day is the most solemn day on our Village Calendar. And while I usually encourage a large turnout for our Memorial Day tribute, this year I was happy that many people stayed home and stayed safe. It should be gratifying to know that many of your elected officials were there to represent you. Deputy Mayor Donna Squicciarino, Trustee Rich Pallisco and Trustee Rainer Burger (Colonel, USAF Reserve) were in attendance. We were honored to have NYS Senator Anna Kaplan, NYS Assemblyman Ed Ra, Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer, Rich Nicolello and Town of North Hempstead Clerk Wayne Wink participate in the solemn ceremony in the pouring rain.
There were no crowds at Memorial Park. These public servants were not there for the crowds. They were there to represent us in honoring the young men from New Hyde Park who perished. The elected officials in attendance see it as their duty to pay tribute to those who spilled their blood and lost their lives for our liberty and freedom. These young men have passed the torch they could no longer hold. We must all pick up the torch and fight every day to preserve the liberties that our young men died for.
Senator Kaplan’s response to my invitation sums it up nicely: “Thank you for your kind invitation. This Memorial Day Ceremony will certainly look different but the spirit of remembering and honoring the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty remains.”
If I could speak to the spirits of those young men, as if they were standing within the social distances between us, I would extend the profound thanks and sorrow that New Hyde Park feels for them – especially on Memorial Day. I would tell them that their short life was not in vain. Their struggle continues. We will keep up the fight and continue to hold high Liberty’s Torch.
Please have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. Pray for our fallen sons. Enjoy your families.
Lawrence J. Montreuil
Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park