By CHRIS EBERHART
On a sunny Memorial Day morning, the flag in front of the Bronxville School flew at half-mast as residents, veterans, police, fire, elected officials and Boy and Girl Scouts gathered around to remember fallen soldiers.
They sang along to “America the Beautiful,” and each verse filled the open space with patriotic songs that could be heard down the block.
But everything drew silent when Bronxville Trustee Anne Poorman read the names of Bronxville veterans who died since last Memorial Day, a total of 12 residents from World War II and Korea.
“I believe Memorial Day is a day to bear witness to heroes. And there’s no better place to find true heroes than in our country’s military,” Bronxville Mayor Mary Marvin said. “Our small village has more than its fair share of heroes. Your neighbors have experienced the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the battle of Iwo Jima and the taking of Normandy. We have fathers who served in Vietnam with sons that served in Iraq.”
The ceremony in front of the Bronxville School included a three-gun salute, a wreath ceremony and the honoring of this year’s grand marshal, Bob Riggs.
Riggs first marched in the Bronxville Memorial Day parade as an eight-year-old Boy Scout. Now, the lifelong Bronxville resident, who flew a B-47 Stratojet during the Cold War, returned to the parade as its grand marshal.
After his time in the military, Riggs gave back to the community, serving as an attorney for Bronxville, as village trustee, Sarah Lawrence board chairman, co-founder of the Bronxville Historical Conservancy and the Town of Eastchester 350th Anniversary Committee co-chairman.
“Bob Riggs was a terrific honoree,” Michael Fix, a veteran who helped organize the parade, said. “The whole town was very proud of him. The people who came up to me were very pleased with the parade and ceremonies.”
The ceremony followed the mile-long parade—which showcased antique cars, bands and elected officials from Bronxville, Eastchester, Tuckahoe as well as the county and state—from the Leonard Morange Square to the school grounds.
Pondfield Road was packed with clapping bystanders and flag-waving children. Even workers from CVS on Pondfield Road came outside the store to film the parade and dance along with the beats of the bands.
Colm Connell, who was part of the Sword of Light Pipe Band, which played patriotic-themed music during the Bronxville parade, said the amount of people that attended the village parade is a tribute to the village’s respect for the fallen veterans.
“This parade is fantastic. It really shows the devotion to the veterans that this community has,” Connell said. “And we enjoy playing here every year. It’s really the least we can do on Memorial Day.”
The parade took teamwork to put together with the absence of former Village Administrator Harold Porr, who retired in March. Bronxville secretary Karen Bucceri said she and Porr typically put the parade together but, with Porr’s absence this year, Fix and Police Chief Chris Satriale stepped up to assist Bucceri.
“I missed Harry [Porr] with his attention to detail, but it all fell into place,” Fix said. “I helped with the parade, but I would like to salute Karen.”