MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Mount Kisco's Memorial Day parade took place on a sunny afternoon this past Saturday, with an array of local civic groups in attendence.
The parade, which is held on May 30, the historical date, was preceded with a brief ceremony at a monument in between the village's cemeteries. The parade itself went north on East Main Street (Route 117) and stopped at the war memorial next to the local library.
Marchers included a color guard, local American Legion members, the Ancient Fife and Drum Corps, elected officials and bagpipers. Participants also included groups such as the Mount Kisco Historical Society, the Mount Kisco Lions Club, the local Ancient Order of Hibernians chapter, and local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.
The main ceremony included an instrumental rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" and a vocal rendition of "God Bless America." Legion members fired a round from their guns, which was followed by a playing of "Taps." Presentations of wreathes and flowers were also made.
The ceremony included another annual tradition in Mount Kisco, which is the reading of a pair of essays from local fifth-grade winners of Memorial Day essay contests. One student each is selected from Mount Kisco Elementary School (MKES) and West Patent Elementary School (WPES).
James Antash, this year's winner from WPES, spoke about remembering people who sacrificed themselves for the country.
“Although these heroes are gone, they will never be forgotten because each and every day, as we live our lives freely and safely in this beautiful country, we are honoring everything they fought for.”
Luis Diaz, this year's winner from MKES, repeated noted that those who died while serving in war are heroes.
“These heroes should be remembered for their will to never give up, for their pride and for their bravery.”
Mayor Michael Cindrich kept his remarks short, asking people who served in a war to raise their hands. He also mentioned that his granddaughter, Bianca Weiss, was serving as this year's poppy girl, which is another local Memorial Day tradition.
This year's parade either marks or coincides with the end of several eras that are tied to Mount Kisco in different ways. Donald Ford, who is general manager of the local American Legion, announced that this was his last year serving on the local Memorial Day committe.
“This is my last parade,” he said.
Speaking with Daily Voice later in the day, Ford, 81, cited his age as a factor. Ford plans to participate in future parades by riding.
The parade was also the last for the Mount Kisco Police Department before the bulk of its operations and personnel are taken over by the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, which starts on June 1. Following the consolidation, the village's police department will continue to exist in a limited form.
Several village police cars and personnel were on duty during the parade, while a pair of county policemen joined in the route on motorcycles.
The parade was also the last in Mount Kisco for Westchester County Legislator Peter Harckham as a public official before he steps down to take a job in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration. Harckham, who represents Mount Kisco, is serving until June 1.
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