Memorial Day ceremonies full of respect and honor

Local communities pay tribute to the fallen


Across the South Shore, our communities were united in solemn remembrance on Memorial Day as we reflected and appreciated the members of the Armed Forces—and their families—who made the ultimate sacrifice.

On Saturday, May 25 at 10 a.m., the Village of Brightwaters hosted their annual Memorial Day Weekend Ceremony at the top of the canal at Ackerson Plaza in Brightwaters, where the veterans’ memorial walkway is located. Patriotic music played by Johnny Ray, BSHS wind ensemble, Andrew White, Jordan Drago, Michael Ruggiere, and Victor Vaccaro reminded all attendees the reason for gathering.

The ceremony honored all who have died fighting for our country, while also giving special recognition to Olive Lazio, a remarkable woman who embodies resilience, dedication, and unwavering patriotism. Lazio journeyed as a Navy nurse in the groundbreaking WAVES division during WWII, caring for wounded soldiers at the forefront of medical innovation in Bethesda, Md. As she approaches her 100th birthday, Lazio stands as a living testament to the sacrifices and contributions of the less than 1 percent of WWII veterans still with us today.

The Bay Shore-Brightwaters Memorial Day Parade, hosted by Amvets Post 76, was held on Monday, May 27, at 10 a.m. The day began with veterans’ services at 9 a.m. at Bay Shore Memorial Park in front of the Bay Shore train station. The Memorial Park is dedicated to all the honorable Bay Shore residents that lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

The parade itself was a beautiful tribute, which commenced at 10 a.m. at Lanier Lane and Main Street, and proceeded down Main Street to Brentwood Road and on to Oakwood Cemetery. After the parade, Amvets Post 76 opened its doors to all, allowing the community to once again come together in remembrance, and offered free hotdogs and hamburgers.

The Central Islip Community came together at the annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 27, at 11 a.m. for a special dedication to honor the memory of Norman Wagner. The circular drive entrance to the Alfano Elementary School/Administration Office was posthumously renamed Norman Wagner Way. Wagner was honored for decades of community service as co-founder and co-chair of the Central Islip Memorial Day Parade, president of the Central Islip Board of Education, president of the Central Islip Public Library, Sons of Italy and Knights of Columbus.

Colonel Jack Cassidy was this year's Grand Marshal. A lifelong Central Islip resident,  Cassidy served in the US Marine Corps and led a raid which freed South Vietnamese soldiers from a Vietcong POW Camp. He was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, The Purple Heart and other US and foreign decorations. Mr. Cassidy returned home to teach, coach, and eventually served as Principal of Reed Junior High School. 

Meanwhile in Islip, the Islip Hamlet Memorial Day Parade was once again hosted by American Legion Rusy-Bohm Post 411. The parade kicked off at 10 a.m., at the south side of Main Street and Saxon Avenue and proceeded down Main Street to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Following the parade’s completion, a ceremony was led by Cmdr. George Hauck of American Legion Rusy-Bohm Post 411 at the beautifully decorated Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The ceremony was completed with a rifle salute by the Marine Corps League and Post 411 honor guard, and remarks by the chaplain of Rusy-Bohm Post 411, Dennis Casey; Islip Town councilman Jim O’Connor; first vice commander Rodney Koebele; commander of Amvets Post 18 Fred Louska; and Amvets Post 18 third vice commander George Podlaha.

“As we pay tribute to our fallen, please let us also re-commit ourselves to the principles they fought to protect,” Cmdr. Hauck urged the crowd. “Let us be inspired by their sense of duty and carry forward their legacies by serving our communities, and our nation, with honor.” 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here