Uncle Sam
Uncle SamCindy Grosz

The Five Towns, where I live, exemplifies Jewish leadership in honoring Memorial Day veterans

Jews from all religious backgrounds look forward to annual Israeli Day parades. They must, however, not overlook the events celebrating American pride in our war heroes, our freedoms and our workers.

This year, as many are going outdoors for the first time in months, why not rejoice safely outdoors. We have so much to be thankful for - first and foremost, we survived the pandemic!

Here's a model for your community: Members of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst community, along with neighboring patriots, will gather on Sunday morning, May 30th to participate in the 102-year-old Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department Memorial Day Parade. At 10 am, the live parade begins at Frost Lane and Central Avenue in Lawrence concluding with a brief and meaningful tribute ceremony in Cedarhurst’s Andrew J. Parise Park. Full disclosure - I am honored to be a featured guest in this year’s parade.

Memorial Day Parade Cindy Grosz
Memorial Day Parade Cindy GroszCindy Grosz

The expanded parade, the production of creative community members and Village staff was created and led by Penina (Paris) Popack, Village of Lawrence Trustee. She is joined by JoMarie Capone of The Village of Cedarhurst.

Popack stated, “We hope this Memorial Day Parade will be inspiring, entertaining, and the best attended ever after last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic. We are taking necessary safety precautions hopeful that people will come out to support and cheer our volunteer fire department, military and marchers. It is going to be spectacular!”

Approximately 70 entrants will march down the Village's main shopping avenue. Highlights of the parade will include a host of Military veterans, firemen and fire trucks, Freeport Navy JROTC Color Guard, bagpipes and drums, a musical brass ensemble, antique and exotic cars, motorcycles, hatzalah, Achiezer, local schools, scouts and organizations.

Historic reenactors from Rock Hall Museum will be driven on a classic horse and carriage. Special guests will be local politicians, former navy and army veterans, Dr. Yashar and Perie Hirshaut and myself. Patriotic American songs will be performed by Meshugga Daddies Barbershop Singers, led by Dr. Stuart Rappaport, Mariachi Hidalgo NYC and renowned superstar Mendy J. Additional surprises are in store.

Veteran Syd Mandelbaum, a child of Holocaust survivors and commander of the American Legion Post #339, stated, “Lining the streets in support of our veterans for an hour of your Sunday morning, shows incredible thanks.”

Village of Cedarhurst Mayor and Parade Co-chairman, Benjamin Weinstock added, “A core value of our heritage is to show respect. Teaching your children and grandchildren about the true meaning of Memorial Day is vital to appreciate our American freedoms. Participating in our parade is an ideal educational opportunity to do so and acknowledge our fallen veterans.”

Alex Edelman, Mayor of the Village of Lawrence, said, “Come out and proudly enjoy the parade and show your support for our Nation and the Lawrence-Cedarhurst community.”

Parade Co-chairman, Deputy Fire Chief, Meyer Adler, responded, ”We can’t take our American freedoms for granted and must never forget the ultimate sacrifices that our armed services have made so we can live in peace. Please come out, show up and show your gratitude.”

Meorial Day Parade 5 Towns
Meorial Day Parade 5 TownsCindy Grosz

It’s important for our non-Jewish neighbors to see us sponsor and attend these events. With anti-Semitism on the rise everywhere, it’s a rare opportunity to unite all.

The first parade Popack sponsored was a great success in 2019. She suggests that if a parade is already scheduled in your neighborhood, join in with a float, a band or even volunteering to hand out flags and cold drinks. Every parade is a team, there is no one hero.

Why am I sharing this? In these times, let the world see American Jews, from all areas and backgrounds, start the summer as grateful citizens of the United States of America, the proud ally of Israel.

Cindy Grosz is an award-winning pro-Israel and Education activist. She works on exposing corruption in schools, improving oversight on classroom curriculum and ending anti-Semitism in education situations. She also helps educators fight discrimination in the hiring and firing practices of school staff.