Story and Photos
By Katie McFadden
In Rockaway, those who made the supreme sacrifice for this country, will always be remembered. American Legion Daniel M. O’Connell Post #272 held its annual Memorial Day parade and ceremonies to bring the community together to remember those military members who gave their all for this country.
Memorial Day began with a Mass at St. Francis de Sales Church. Following the Mass, the congregation gathered outside at the Four Chaplains monument for the first ceremony. American Legion member and veteran Mike Honan led the ceremonies. Names of local servicemembers who were killed in action were read, “Taps” was played on the bugle, wreaths were laid at the monument, and Rich and LauraLee D’Auria led the crowd in song, including “God Bless America.” Then the various groups including veterans, the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus, Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 21, St. Francis de Sales honoring L.Cpl, Michael Glover, a group honoring Lt. James B. Egan, a group honoring PFC John P. McGonigal, Cub Scout Troop 147, and the Channel View School for Research and Scholars’ Academy bands marched in the parade to Memorial Circle. Local residents lined the streets with flags in hand to cheer on and thank the passing veterans. At the park, another ceremony took place, where the names of those memorialized in the park were read by Bradley Finkelstein of Temple Beth-El, music was played, and American Legion members laid wreaths in honor of those who died.
Then, for the first time, the parade continued up onto the windy boardwalk instead of down Rockaway Beach Blvd., to complete the march to the Doughboy and Doughgirl monuments for concluding ceremonies before the members gathered at the Knights of Columbus for drinks and refreshments.