As the sun shone high above Center Moriches on May 30, families lined up along Main Street for the annual Memorial Day parade.
The procession kicked off promptly at 9 a.m. from Lake Avenue and headed east towards Mt. Pleasant Cemetery. Families sat in lawn chairs along the sidewalk or tailgated in truck beds as marching bands, firefighters, Paquatuck Squaws, Little League teams, and other local groups and businesses marched and drove down the pavement.
The VFW Post 414 had been planning the parade since the beginning of the year, according to post commander Bobby Galbraith, to secure performers and organize floats. Perhaps more important was the planning for the ceremony after the parade at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
“To me, the most important part isn’t even the parade, it’s the ceremony,” Galbraith said. “The big part at the ceremony are the eulogies, the remembrance of all that served and had passed, the laying of the wreaths, the laying of the flowers. Everything has a meaning: the 21-gun salute, the taps, singing ‘God Bless America.’
“It’s all about the remembrance of all the veterans that have served and have passed,” he continued. “Not necessarily that died in war, but all the men and women that served that are now gone. It’s a day for us to remember them and honor them. That’s the important part.”
While a few hundred people flocked to Main Street for the parade, Galbraith said he hopes for a larger crowd at both the parade and the cemetery service next year.
At this year’s cemetery ceremony, the commander delivered the eulogy, senior VFW officers laid flowers, and a clergyperson from St. John’s led those in attendance through a prayer.
“It’s a nice day, it’s an emotional day, and it’s an important day,” Galbraith said of the celebrations. “Veterans Day is for all the living. Memorial Day is for all the guys that have passed.”
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