The 76th annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by the Allied Veterans’ Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale drew thousands of people to Myrtle Avenue Monday, when veterans, civic leaders, elected officials, and other residents paid tribute to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country: their lives.
Everyone from the very young to the very old lined Myrtle Avenue, waving American flags and cheering on the marchers as they traveled from the Ridgewood Memorial Triangle, where Monday’s event kicked off, to the Glendale Veterans Triangle, where the ending ceremony was held.
The Allied Veterans’ Memorial Committee, which is made up of six area organizations, honored Charles Dunn, a Korean War veteran and a longtime Ridgewood resident, as the parade’s grand marshal.
“I got married in 1951, we had our honeymoon in upstate New York, and then I had a second honeymoon on Parris Island,” Dunn laughed, referring to the U.S. Marine recruiting depot in South Carolina.
Following his service from 1951 to 1953 in the Korean War, Dunn and his wife moved to Ridgewood in 1954 – to a $45-a-month apartment where the only heat was in the kitchen.
“You got up in the morning and dressed fast,” said Dunn, who went on to serve in the New York Police Department for decades.
Like many of the veterans present, Dunn stressed the importance of remembering those no longer here.
“I believe there are others much more deserving than I,” Dunn said humbly in reference to being named the grand marshal.
Speaking to the crowd Monday, retired U.S. Army Major General Evo Riguzzi urged veterans – and all residents – to continue honoring the military men and women who have died, particularly at such events as Memorial Day parades.
“Don’t stop coming to these,” Riguzzi said. “Keep coming to these things until it’s your day to be memorialized.”
The groups that make up the Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale are: the Sgt. Edward Miller Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7336, the VFW Post 123, the Glendale American Legion Post 104, the Brewery-Keenan-Heisser American Legion Post 1815, the Lt. Alfred Lucia Disabled American Veterans Chapter 118, and the Joseph B. Garity American Legion Post 562.
By Anna Gustafson