Southern Brooklyn

Nation’s oldest Memorial Day parade here May 30

May 24, 2022 Theodore W. General
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When Brooklyn’s 155th Memorial Day Parade kicks off in Bay Ridge on May 30, it will continue to hold the distinction of being the oldest large-city Memorial Day parade in the nation. The first parade was held on Eastern Parkway in 1867, when Brooklyn was an independent city and the fourth largest city in America. 

The parade was moved to Prospect Park West for several years. In 1985, parade officials decided to move the march to Bay Ridge so the route and reviewing stand would be closer to the Fort Hamilton Army Base and John Paul Jones Park. This is where the post-parade memorial service has been held for more than 30 years. 

The U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard and Company. Eagle Urban Media file photo

Originally known as the Decoration Day, by an act by Congress it was changed to Memorial Day in 1971. Past parades were hosted by the Veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic and then the United War Veterans of Kings County. It is currently run by the succeeding organization, the United Military Veterans of Kings County, which is chaired by Air Force veteran Ray Aalbue and parade president and Army veteran Connie Ranocchia.

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When the parade steps off from Third Avenue and 78th Street at 11 a.m., the lead music contingent will be the NYC All City Marching Band, which is composed of public high school students from all five boroughs.  

Fort Hamilton High School Army Junior ROTC Cadets and Marching Band Eagle Urban Media file photo

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