Newburgh pays tribute to heroes who fought for our freedoms

City of Newburgh Memorial Day parade kicks off
NFA marching band participates in City of Newburgh Memorial Day parade

NEWBURGH – A bright and warm sunshine after days of intermittent storms allowed parade watchers to gather along Broadway and Liberty Street this Memorial Day.

The crowds mingled and friends had a chance to catch up with each other, some after a long period of isolation during the pandemic, while waiting for the parade proper to arrive.

Little by little the seats were brought to Broadway eventually filling the curb area while some of the parade watchers  backed their vehicles in and were having a sort of tailgate party.

During the 40 minute wait for the parade to reach Liberty Street by the Ritz Theatre, motorcycle riders, jeeps, and roadsters  entertained those waiting with  songs from  boom boxes, including everything from Chris Stapleton, to blues and hard rap. Eventually several of the ladies and one gentleman could not resist and treated the watchers to some dance steps.

Next, the police led the parade proper, followed by a Newburgh fire engine and ladder company, and a stunningly outfitted band that played patriotic music. This really set the tone for reverence and solemn remembrance for the many brave who lost their lives building and keeping America free.

A variety of vehicles passed by dressed red, white and blue, each with a veteran smiling and waving to the crowd.  Then came the fun, a float all decked out with period chairs in which a look-alike George and Martha Washington waved and headed home to Washington’s Headquarters. This brought numerous cheered and enticed much of the crowd to follow the float to Washington’s Headquarters. where they walked up the long hill up to the Tower, looking so real that it seemed to touch the hearts of the onlookers.

Mayor Torrance Harvey, Councilmen Anthony Grice, Bob Sklarz and Omari Shakur, and Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson participated in the event that was a very appropriate mix of being celebratory and solemn.

Asked about his own family’s history in America, Mayor Harvey traced family members back to the Civil War and praised America’s long fight to protect freedom.  He talked about how the city has come back and flourished since the hardest days of the pandemic, a sign, he said, of the city’s underlying strength.  “Just look at them,” he said, proudly gazing over at the several hundred Newburgh residents who came to participate and show their respect both for those who fought in numerous wars, and those city departments and organizations keeping them safe and free today.