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Commemorating veterans in Baldwin amid Covid-19

Car parade, ceremony marks Memorial Day

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While the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the way people across the nation mark Memorial Day and pay tribute to the men and women who died serving the country, the Baldwin American Legion Post 246 hosted a ceremony Monday, as allowed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The Baldwin Hot Rod Association, in collaboration with the Baldwin Legion Post, organized a car parade that led to the veterans memorial in Silver Lake Park on Foxhurst Road, where a small ceremony took place. The parade began at around 10 a.m. from Weir Street in South Hempstead, and featured military vehicles and motorcycles.

Community leaders were invited to attend the small-scale ceremony beginning at 11 a.m., Baldwin American Legion Post 246 Commander Bob Hare said, which featured a small contingent from the post. Attendees were told to practice social distancing and wear masks to be safe.

"As we celebrate the selfless and untiring performances of the healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic," Hare said, "it brings to mind the military medics, doctors and nurses who sacrificed their lives while treating others on the battlefield."

“We’re in a new normal now with Covid, and though much has changed this Memorial Day, our gratitude and thanks for the courageous men and women who sacrificed their lives protecting our freedom and way of life has not and will never change,” said State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach whose district includes parts of Baldwin.

Nassau County American Legion Commander Al Ficalora, of Baldwin, attended a countywide drive-through Memorial Day event that began from the Nassau Coliseum parking lot, on Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, and ended up at the veterans monuments in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

At 9:30 a.m., nearly 300 cars, Ficalora said, drove through the park to allow local residents to pay tribute to veterans, including the county commanders who stood six feet apart and wore protective gear near the veterans monuments.

“No matter what, pandemic or no pandemic, you still got veterans that fought and died for our country,” Ficalora said. “So it doesn’t matter — you still have to honor them with a day, at least, and acknowledge the things that they did for us as a nation. Because of them, you’re free today.”

"I wanted to get together with my car club and give everybody a Memorial Day," said Steven Burke, one of the founding members of the Baldwin Hot Rod Association. "I wanted to show the community that hope still exists."