By Carol Bartold, Senior Reporter
May 24, 2017: "It's quite something to be in the company of so many distinguished past grand marshals," said Donald Gray of his selection as grand marshal for Bronxville's 2017 Memorial Day parade. "It was a surprise and an honor."
Although Gray was selected as grand marshal for the 2016 parade, the event was rained out. Village officials decided he should get the opportunity to enjoy the honor this year.
This year's parade will be held on Monday, May 29, beginning at 9:00 am.
Gray, a United States Army veteran, served as an artillery officer at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the home of the United States Army Field Artillery School. During his two years of service from May 1966 to May 1968, Gray qualified to be a missile officer and did some teaching at the Artillery School.
Although his service in the military coincided with the Vietnam War, Gray's area of training and expertise was focused on the Cold War in Europe. "My training was in air defense artillery, and that wasn't an issue in Vietnam," he explained. "I thought I was going to go to Germany and be stationed on the East German border." Orders that came through for Gray to report to Germany were changed and he served his two years stateside.
"I think people's view of military service has changed since the Vietnam era," Gray said. "It was a tough time. I don't think a career in the Army was particularly highly regarded when I got out of college." He noted that, during his two years in the Army, he gained "a lot of respect that maybe should have been there in the first place, and wasn't."
Gray recounted that in serving under highly qualified officers and colleagues, he developed a deep respect for the expertise they brought to military service. The second in command in his unit, an engineer, earned his PhD from Caltech, and one of Gray's colleagues came to the Army with a master's degree in physics.
Gray, who served as a village trustee for a total of eight years over two non-consecutive terms, said he took great joy in marching in every Memorial Day parade during that time. "It was fun to walk and have all your neighbors and friends wave to you."
He added that serving with his fellow trustees was a pleasure. The fact that several of them are still in office and chose him to be the last year's grand marshal and held over the honor to this year makes the selection "extra special."
For more information about the Memorial Day parade and other festivities, click here for an article about the parade and commemoration, click here for a listing of Memorial Day events sponsored by the Bronxville School PTA, the Village of Bronxville, and the Town of Eastchester, click here for an article about a dedication ceremony honoring the Kennedy family's residence in Bronxville from 1929 to 1941, and click here for an article about the Town of Eastchester Memorial Day events.
Pictured here: Donald Gray, grand marshal for this year's Memorial Day parade in Bronxville.
Photo at top by A. Warner; photo in text by N. Bower