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Chris Cassone remembers the reason why. Do you?
Filmed in Port Chester, NY, where I grew up watching the parades from my front lawn on Westchester Avenue, just steps from the monument. Sadly, the thousands aren’t there anymore. This is my homage to that wonderful spirit that I witnessed in my youth.
Most of the 8 mm footage, the Port Chester part, was filmed by Nick and Mary Chilek. The parade footage in the beginning and around the monument was 1954 or 55. We know this because Melanie, their daughter and my girlfriend, is in the the scene where people are walking (0:40) with her brother, Marty who is my age was walking there holding a flag, age about 4 or 5.
The cheerleader footage is just me wanting to get my girlfriend in the video. This was in 1968-9. Some it is taken near St Peters as Nick Chilek was a fireman with Harry Howard house, just up the street. Look closely and you’ll see Nielsen’s Ice Cream parlor. Ken Force brought the PCHS band to national recognition. In fact they would have played in a DC parade if not for the assassination of MLK.
That glorious footage of the bands coming up the avenue was taken near Leicester Ave. just across from the Elks and a half a block from my home, 408 Westchester Ave. While I couldn’t fit it in the song, one of my biggest memories of the parades was waiting… waiting… waiting for the bugler to finish Taps until we could run for the spent rifle shells. I still have some.
I remember lining up for the big parade
The whole town there the thirtieth of May
Kids were running. Drums were drumming. There was music in the air
At the monument a solemn wreath they’d lay
Here come the twirler girls with their sequins on
Followed by a marching band or two
There’s the mayor riding in his old sedan
Waving to the crowd red white and blue
We seemed to know the reason why our soldiers march and the mothers cry
And we sang America the brave
Maybe there’s a memory that’s lost or maybe somethings gained
We bowed our heads and prayed on that Memorial Day
Not far behind them marched a small platoon
Of old men in green and blue and grey
Proudly stepping up the avenue
We saw a tear or two that day
We can’t forget the reason why these old men march and the young girls cry
And why we must remember to this today
Maybe there’s a memory that’s lost and maybe something’s gained
So we bow our heads and pray . When its Memorial Day
SOLO x 4
So turn on the game – and fire up the barbeque
Head to the sale or head out to the shore
Understand these freedoms they have given you
What they lost so we could have much more
We can’t forget the reason why our soldiers die and the mothers cry
And hold our flags high up to wave.
I guess we need another lesson learned and suffer through the pain
So lets bow our heads and pray.on this Memorial Day
c.2009 Chris Cassone
(h/t to Mr. Pinko at I Own The World)
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