Decoration Day was first observed in 1866 to pay tribute to those who had died in the Civil War. Nearly 150 years later, its place has been taken by Memorial Day. On the last Monday in May, millions coast to coast pay tribute to Americans who died during not only the Civil War but every war since the founding of the country.
This year, Memorial Day parades and ceremonies are planned for Monday across the North Fork, from Orient to Calverton.
Riverhead’s annual Memorial Day parade will kick off at 10 a.m. at the corner of Pulaski Street and Osborn Avenue. Marchers will proceed down Osborn Avenue for a brief ceremony at the War Memorial at Court and West Main streets, continue down Main Street and turn right on Northville Turnpike. Marchers will follow the turnpike to East Avenue, turn left and proceed to St. John’s Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony. From St. John’s, the parade will circle back to Riverhead Cemetery for a short commemoration and close the day with a brief ceremony at the start location.
Southold Town’s parade will begin following a 10 a.m. memorial service at Veterans Memorial Park in Greenport Village. The parade will commence at the juncture of First and Main streets and continue down Main Street to Front Street, ending at the Third Street firehouse.
The Greenport Village dockside parade, hosted by the Greenport Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, will begin in the Adams Street parking lot at 8 a.m., two hours before the town parade. Marchers will proceed from Adams Street to the railroad dock for a memorial service and concluding ceremony.
Orient’s Memorial Day Parade will start at the Orient firehouse at 7:30 a.m. and proceed down Tabor Road to the bay. There, clergy and veterans will pause by each monument to honor those fallen in every American war since the Revolution. After the parade, marchers are invited to the firehouse for refreshments provided by the Orient Fire Department ladies auxiliary.
The Memorial Day ceremony at Calverton National Cemetery begins at 1 p.m. and will include remarks by Congressman Tim Bishop and music from the Shoreham-Wading River Community Band.