Local Boy Scouts woke up at the crack of dawn on May 24 to help veterans flag the graves of the men and women who gave their lives fighting for our country, buried at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.
“Every grave there gets flagged… no exceptions,” said VFW Post Commander Andy Booth.
Booth said the Boy Scouts of America were extremely helpful, as they are each year, helping place minature American flag at the foot of each headstone. In addition, members of the American Legion Post #1711 in Levittown flag the graves of former members and WWII veterans buried in the cemetery along Wantagh Ave.
This story originally appeared in the June 7, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune.
The following day a service was held to honor the many veterans on Long Island who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect home and country.
Veterans from far and wide gathered to attend the Memorial Day services at the cemetery. The event is always a solemn occasion, organized each year by members of the American Legion Post #1711 and VFW Post #9592 from both the Levittown and Island Trees communities.
On Memorial Day, people lined up along Wantagh Avenue to march in this year’s parade.
Parade Grand Marshall Arthur Tripp, a Vietnam War veteran and member of the American Legion #1711 in Levittown, led the march down Hempstead Turnpike this year.
“Thank you to all my veterans,” Tripp recently told The Levittown Tribune. “You are all my heroes.”
The American Legion Post #1711 has over 300 members, some of whom are still in active-duty.
To prepare for the one and three-quarter-mile parade, Levittown resident Henry To works with members of the Levittown and Island Trees school communities, athletic clubs, boy and girl scout organizations, the Levittown Chamber of Commerce, the Levittown Community Council, and many other civic organizations for months before the celebration to coordinate the annual Memorial Day parade.
“Everybody in town takes part,” Booth said, acknowledging that Henry To doesn’t get the recognition he deserves for all his hard work, arranging the festivities year-in and year-out.
As the parade continued down towards Veterans Memorial Park on Shelter Lane, people filled the roadside to wave them on.
For To, this year marked the fifteenth Memorial Day parade organized without the support of a parade committee.
“There was a tremendous turnout for the parade this year,” To said. “Out of all the Memorial Day parades on Long Island, this one is humongous.”
A week later some of the veterans returned to the Long Island National Cemetery to remove the flags.
“It’s sad,” Booth said. “We usually don’t have as many people to help de-flag the graves.”
Each year, the local veterans reach out to members of the public to assist in both the placement and retrieval of the American flags. For anyone interested in helping flag or de-flag the graves next year, contact the Long Island National Cemetery at 631-454-4949.