By Julia Penchuk
The Syosset Memorial Day parade returned Monday, May 30, after being put off for years. Residents came out and supported the parade, along with local veterans’ groups, marching bands, Boys and Girls Scouts, the fire department and more. A ceremony was held in remembrance of all those who lost their lives including local veteran Gus Scutari.
The parade began on Dawes Avenue and Jackson Avenue. Marchers headed north on Jackson Avenue to the north side of the LIRR tracks and continued Cold Spring Harbor Road. The parade turned west on Whitney Avenue and headed to Queens Street, then south to Underhill Boulevard. The parade ended at Memorial Park at the corner of Underhill Avenue and Jackson Avenue.
Amanda Johnson has been coming to this parade for 30 years because of how important she feels like day is to be celebrated. Starting two years prior to COVID-19, Johnson’s decoration company, Balloons by Amanda, walked in the parade with huge balloon decorations.
This year was special for Johnson because she was able to have her granddaughter join her. “I made sure we had little kids apart of this so that understand how important this day is to celebrate,” she said.
Throughout the ceremony many children were able to take part. The Adeliettes, an acapella group from Syosset, did a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. Additionally, the Boys and Girls Scouts held flags throughout the ceremony.
The ceremony took place at Memorial Park, which was recently renamed the Gus Scutari Memorial Park for a local veteran.
In the past years, Scutari was the parade grand marshal. Sadly, he died in April at age 99. This year’s parade did not have a grand marshal in honor of him.
To many, Scutari was known as “Mr. Memorial Day” and was loved by many in the county.
“To so many in this community he was a larger-than-life figure,” Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan said. “He embodied the patriotism of a proud veteran, always preaching the importance of the American flag and what it stood for.”
He added, “From 1947, veterans have been interwoven into the fabric of our Long Island communities. Today, 55,000 veterans call Nassau County home.”
Vice Commander of the Gus Scutari VFW Post 6394 Mitch Furman served in the United States Army starting from 1967. He did tours in Vietnam, Japan, and Korea.
“I had mixed emotions about the parade,” Furman said. “I was happy to see people come out and honor the war dead, sad because I think of some of the people, I served with that lost their lives, and humbled that I made it home.”
Furman joined marchers and residents after the ceremony at the VFW for hot dogs and conversation.
“My ask today is very simple to all of you – please stop and thank a veteran right here in our community for their service, ”Lafazan said.