Honoring the Fallen: Chaminade Bands March in Annual Memorial Day Parade

By Andrew Hilton ’22

Chaminade’s music program is deeply rooted in tradition; student body masses, varsity football games, and school musicals are only a few of the annual events for which dedicated student musicians perform. On Monday, May 27th, the Flyers, Crimson, and Pep Bands carried on one of their most celebrated traditions: marching in the annual Mineola Memorial Day Parade.

The Memorial Day Parade is the band’s most significant and enjoyable experiences; the days leading up to the parade are filled with long practice sessions for both playing and marching.  One freshman Timothy Haskell ’22 expressed his excitement to play in his first Memorial Day Parade as a Flyer: “I’m very anxious to see how the crowds that line the streets respond. I think all of our hard work and preparation for this event will lead to promising results.”

In preparation for the parade, the musicians arrived at Chaminade at 8:45 A.M. After practicing one final time on the track during the hours leading up to the 11:00 A.M. starting time, the band took to the streets of Mineola, lined with hundreds of spectators, and began its march. The musicians, along with members of the Boy Scouts, Red Cross, and fire department, enjoyed perfect weather while entertaining all during the two-mile trek.

Though this year’s Memorial Day Parade march marked the final parade performance for the current juniors, the freshmen absorbed the entire experience and cannot wait to take part in the annual tradition again next year. One freshman Ryan Corriss ’22 expressed how taken he was by the event” “I was very excited about performing in my first Memorial Day Parade and really honored to represent Chaminade and to pay tribute to all of those who have died defending our freedom.”

While the parade was special for all members of the band, it was even more meaningful to Mr. Evans, the conductor of the Flyers Band. A former Navy veteran who served in Vietnam, Mr. Evans solemnly expressed how much it meant to him that so many people (young people, in particular) were taking time out of their holidays to honor the fallen. “We are extremely honored to march for the veterans who have died protecting this great country,” he expressed.

While many of us get caught up in the whirlwind of barbecues and parades that occur over Memorial Day Weekend, remembering what the intent of the day really is remains a crucial aspect of our national character: honoring those who have laid down their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation so that the freedoms we enjoy, and sometimes take for granted, remain an example to the rest of the world.  By honoring the past, we will be more appreciative of how fortunate we are to live in a democratic republic and to have so many willing to risk everything to ensure a safe and prosperous future for the people.