Generally Speaking: USS Cole sailors march in Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2014 Theodore W. General
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Among the marching units in this year’s 147th annual Kings County MemorialDay Parade was a crew of sailors from the USS Cole, the guided missile Navy destroyer which was almost totally destroyed by Al Qaeda terrorists in a Yemen harbor back in 2000.

Completely rebuilt since that horrific attack, in which 17 sailors died, the Cole steamed proudly into the waters of the Narrows, helping to launch Fleet Week. As she passed under the Verrazano Bridge, the intrepid warship was shot at again!However, this time it was a harmless 11-gun cannon salute with no projectiles coming from the Fort Hamilton Army Garrison.

Members of the Veteran Corps of Artillery resplendent in their blue, gold and white 1812 era uniforms fired the broadside.Part of the program for the Fleet Week opening included a performance by the Xaverian High School Concert Band and the presenting of the Colors by Fort Hamilton High School’s Army Junior ROTC cadets.

With bright sunny skies bathing the parade route plus a spectacular turnout, it was one of the largest Memorial Day Parades in recent years.Seven bands marched, along with military units from the Navy, Army and Marines, plus a large contingent of ironworkers, Boy and Girl Scout troops, veterans’ groups, wounded warriors, jeeps and other vintage military vehicles, motorcycle riders, antique cars, FDNY fire trucks and two military service dogs.

This year, three Gold Star mothers served as the 2014 grand marshals.At the post parade ceremonies, Taps were rendered by the Fort Hamilton High School brass musicians, and a 21-gun (cannon) salute was fired in John Paul Jones Park by the Veteran Corps of Artillery. The parade was sponsored by the United Military Veterans of Kings County with Air Force veteran Ray Aalbue * * *

At the May monthly meeting of the 68th Precinct Community Council, Captain Ray FestinoExpressing concern about the growing graffiti problem, which he deplores and considers a serious quality-of-life issue, he has assigned one of his officers to specialize in its prevention and removal. If you want to help in the effort to eradicate graffiti, consider calling 311 to provide a tip about graffiti and vandalism.You may get a cash reward of up to $500.

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We pinch hit for Bay Ridge Historical Society President Andrew Gounardes by coordinating the society’s trip to visit the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site on East 20th Street in Manhattan.The hour-long tour of the museum and gallery was conducted by Bay Ridgeite Daniel PrebuttTheodore Roosevelt was one of the reviewing officers for the Kings County Memorial Day Parade when it was held on Eastern Parkway back in 1905.

Mike Quinn

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