There were no road closures in the Village of Greenport this Memorial Day morning. There was no formal lineup of community groups either.
The police escort consisted of a single car and a lone officer who politely asked, just once, that those marching stick as close to the side of Main Road as possible.
Monday’s impromptu gathering of the town’s residents was not your traditional Memorial Day parade, but it did serve to keep some level of tradition alive.
“We need to remember everyone who died so we have this freedom to be able to come here and enjoy this,” Village Mayor George Hubbard said in his remarks to the dozens of local residents who gathered in Mitchell Park, including the rest of the Village Board.
The makeshift parade was assembled this weekend after the Town of Southold announced its annual event would be canceled due to a storm that ultimately lead to a light, but steady rainfall in Greenport.
After Mattituck resident Kristin Tirelli posted on Facebook that the public should gather at the memorial on the corner of First Street and Main Road anyway, close to 50 people assembled Monday morning. After a brief ceremony, Craig Richter of the Greenport American Legion led the public on a march up Main Road and around to Front Street, ultimately stopping at the flag in Mitchell Park.
After Mr. Hubbard’s remarks, Colin Van Tuyl of Greenport played “Taps” on his trumpet, as he was scheduled to do anyway Monday.
“I usually play it every year at the ceremony at Steamboat Corner,” Mr. Van Tuyl said of another event canceled due to the weather. “I’m glad we were able to do it here.”
The dozen or so residents who did come out to line the streets despite the cancelation of the parade were grateful too.
“Thank you for doing this,” shouted one small group of women holding flags on Main Street.
Judy Kayton of Riverhead, another town that was forced to cancel its parade, drove to Greenport when she heard through family and social media of the grassroots effort there.
“When I heard it was canceled, I thought ‘That’s wrong,” Ms. Kayton remarked. “Our boys who fight over there go out in the rain, mud or anything else.”
Southold Town Councilman Jim Dinizio, a Greenport resident and Navy veteran, sympathized with Town Supervisor Scott Russell, saying he was faced “with a difficult question” as to whether or not to continue the parade despite forecasts of flash flooding and thunder. Mr. Dinizio, whose father served during the Korean War and recently passed away, showed up Monday to March in tribute to Jim Sr.
“I’m wearing his hat today,” he said, before noting that he’s glad the parade carried on the way it did.
“Facebook is just amazing,” Mr. Dinizio added.
Top Photo: The parade marches south on Main Road in Greenport.