Good Morning, Everyone. It’s a lovely spring dawn, perfect for a bold cup of coffee. Join me.
If we were having coffee together, I would reflect on this Memorial Day weekend with you. Traditionally, the weekend marks the kickoff for the summer season. Out east traffic is building during my commute to and from school. Colonial Taxi’s fleet of minibuses is busy shuttling beachgoers from the train station to the Sayville ferry depot. Our catboat sailboat is not ready to launch so we will have to look at Fire Island from afar.
But Memorial Day is not about beaches, boats, and barbecues. The day is reserved for remembrance of those who had bravely served and died for our great country. Freedom has never come free.
This past week, my Kindergarten class were immersed on Memorial Day. We read poems and non-fiction stories, reviewed the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, colored flags, and sang patriotic songs. The theme culminated with an elementary school parade through our Remsenburg hamlet. The route took us to the Remsenburg Memorial about a mile and a half away. Girl Scouts and our very own Master Sergeant in full dress (he had retired from the army and then recently, our school’s IT department) lead the procession. Our fourth to sixth-grade band marched and played, followed by each grade. The local police diverted traffic to one side of the street. Children and us teachers marched along, dressed in our red, white, and blues and waving flags to parents and neighbors.
The excitement did not end for the Kindergarten class. At the half-way point, we piled into a fire truck circa 1939. Very cool.
At the memorial, the flag was raised half-mast, the band played the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful, and selected students read their Memorial Day essays. The fire department stood at attention. There were a few community members from the Gabrinski Air National Guard Base dressed in camouflage. A contingency of local Veterans of Foreign War were honored guests. The commander presented his personal Memorial Day thoughts. The ceremony closed with a student playing Taps. It was a thoughtful and moving event for all.
The K-kids and teachers got off the fire truck so that we could walk to the actual memorial. A wreath and several flags were set in front of the huge stone plaque with the names of the Remsenburg-Speonk fallen from WWII, Spanish American War, Civil War, and Revolutionary War.
This is one of my favorite school events. The community is involved, the children have an opportunity to honor those who served, and it is always a beautiful day for a parade.
Enjoy your holiday, Everyone. Remember our true heroes who were once our neighbors.
As always, BIG THANK YOUs go out to, Eclectic Alli for managing Weekend Coffee Share.
Have a good week, Everyone. Make it great!
Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.