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Memorial Day Brings Out Families and Friends to Honor Veterans and Enjoy Community Events: See More than 100 Photos of Weekend Celebration by N. Bower PDF Print Email


June 1, 2011:  At 8:30 am on Memorial Day, May 30, the rain was pouring so hard that no one in his or her right mind would have ventured forth to watch the parade, let alone march in it.  Meanwhile, Mayor Mary Marvin and Village Administrator Harry Porr were deciding what to do:  call it off, delay it, or go on with the show.  The mayor called it right and ordered the parade to begin as planned.

A few minutes after 9:00 am, as if the mayor had given the command, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the sun shone as those who had lined up on the west side of town under umbrellas to march in the parade began to move into position.  The 91st annual Memorial Day parade was under way.

Leading the parade were vintage Model A's and Model T's, followed by Arthur Miller, the parade's grand marshal.  Marching with him down Pondfield Road from Leonard Morange Square to The Bronxville School were Mayor Mary Marvin, the village's trustees, and judges and other officials, followed by bagpipers and a drum corps providing the music and beat to keep the marchers in step.

Representatives of various civic organizations and agencies, including the Bronxville Beautification Council, Lawrence Hospital Center, Daughters of the American Revolution, Bronxville Women's Club, and Senior Citizens Council, as well as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Brownies, were not far behind.  The colorful grand finale was provided by kids on bicycles and tricycles decked out in red, white, and blue.

At a bandstand in front of The Bronxville School, the mayor addressed the crowd.  "I want to dedicate this year's Memorial Day commemoration to Arthur Miller, the grand marshal," she said, "and to all his fellow World War II veterans who served so bravely and who are leaving us much too quickly."

"Sixteen million Americans answered the call to serve in World War II," she continued, "and a staggering 400,000 gave their lives.  It was the defining moment of the 20th century and the ultimate symbol of moral strength and national unity. ... They were not warriors by nature, just lovers of freedom and their country."

Arthur Miller then read out the names of dozens of local veterans and service members who passed away since last Memorial Day.

Representatives from various community groups and agencies laid wreaths at the base of the flagpole, assisted by members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, followed by one last sounding of taps for the fallen soldiers.  Father Herbert DeGaris from St. Joseph's Church gave the benediction and Dale Walker sang a stirring "America the Beautiful."

Afterwards, as local dignitaries headed toward Bronxville's cemetery for a brief ceremony, many families walked to the elementary school playground and school football field to enjoy carnival games and hamburgers and hot dogs sponsored by the Bronxville PTA.  Others went into the elementary school to see the Bronxville Veterans Memorial Exhibit, which, with photos, letters, and written accounts, documented Bronxville residents who served in previous wars from WWI to the present.

To see over 100 photos of the parade and weekend events, hit the link below and go to the Gala and Gatherings page.

Pictured here:  Mayor Mary Marvin near the podium with speech in hand on Memorial Day with Arthur Miller, the grand marshal, beside her.

Photos by N. Bower

One of Bronxville's Least Attractive Locations to Get Face-Lift PDF Print Email


June 1, 2011:  The Paxton Avenue parking lot area, arguably one of the least attractive areas in Bronxville, is it about to get a face-lift.

In a neighborhood that suggests a "gasoline alley" due to the number of garages and repair shops located there and around the corner on Milburn Avenue, the owner of the parking lot, Paxton Avenue Partners, L.P., and his representatives came before the Planning Board and Design Review Committee on May 11 to win approval for new landscaping.

Bronxville resident and landscape architect Maureen Hackett was commissioned to design the landscape plan, which incorporates the planting of nine deciduous hardwood trees and masses of evergreen shrubbery to provide a green canopy overhead as one walks along the Paxton Avenue sidewalk, as well as a screening of hedges on the pedestrian level of the parking lot.

The trees proposed are red maple, American elm, and fall-blooming cherry.  Yew bushes, fountain grass, and juniper will be used around the parking lot to screen the view and provide ground cover.  Liriope muscari also will be used as a ground cover where needed.

"Although the lot is on the outskirts of town," noted Hackett, "it is often the first thing visitors and residents view when approaching from the Bronx River Parkway."  She explained, "Being a parking lot with many square feet of asphalt, it is the type of site that creates a heat island effect and also puts a strain on the storm water system.  Increasing green areas reduces heat, increases oxygen, and reduces the amount of runoff going into our overburdened storm water catchments."  Hence, in addition to aesthetics, the new landscaping will have a positive environmental impact on the area.

The property is currently being leased for 10 years by Lawrence Hospital Center to provide 150 parking spaces for hospital employees for which it pays $1 a day.  From 1936 to 1997 the property served as the showroom and garage for the Smith Cairns Ford auto dealership.  The site and adjoining property owned by the partnership is valued at about $2 million for tax purposes, and the partnership continues to pay property taxes to the village.

After completion of the presentation and after some clarifying questions asked by members of the planning board, a vote to approve the projected was taken and passed.

Pictured here:  Paxton Avenue parking lot, where new landscaping will be installed.

Photo by A. Warner

From the Mayor: Memorial Day Speech 2011 PDF Print Email


Editor's Note:  In lieu of Mayor Marvin's weekly column, below is the Memorial Day address she gave on Monday morning, May 30, to the community gathered 'round the flagpole in front of the Bronxville School.

Good morning and God Bless America!

Today is the 89th Village Memorial Day parade and commemoration and I am so pleased on behalf of the entire Village to honor Arthur Miller, World War II veteran and lifelong Village resident, as our grand marshal.

I want to tell you a little about Art.

Art interrupted his education at Duke University to serve our country as a bombardier on the B-17 so-called American Flying Fortress.

Assigned to the Eighth Air Force 486th Wing, Art flew 30 combat missions over Germany targeting factories and fuel deposits. Art's plane always encountered resistance and on one mission, a piece of flak landed in Art's lap, a souvenir he owns proudly to this day.

There were always holes in the fuselage of his plane on their return to base and Art credits the power above with keeping him safe.

By war's end, Art's decorations and citations included the Air Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the World War II Victory Medal. And, at a USO show in Hollywood, he even got to meet Bette Davis and was in Times Square to celebrate VE Day.

Post service, Art graduated from Duke and came home to Bronxville for good raising his three daughters here with his late wife, Nancy Van Wyck Miller. Just as Art Miller served his country with distinction, he has given years of valuable service to our Village serving on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce, the Community Fund, his church--The Reformed Church--and as president of our Rotary Club.

Thank you Art for serving our country and our village with valor, humility, and dedication. Art, you truly are a hero among us.

To learn more about Art's service and the other heroes among us, I encourage you to visit the special Bronxville Veterans Memorial display which is exhibited just behind me inside the school until 2 o'clock today. Thanks to the efforts of Village residents Jane Staunton and Cindi Callahan, this moving tribute honors local men and women who have served our country, recounts many of their stories of heroism, and recognizes the over 1,500 Villagers on the Scroll of Honor who have proudly served our country.

I want to dedicate this year's Memorial Day commemoration to Art and to all his fellow World War II veterans who served so bravely and who are leaving us much too quickly.

Sixteen million Americans answered the call to serve in World War II and a staggering 400,000 gave their lives. It was the defining moment of the 20th century and the ultimate symbol of moral strength and national unity.

We tend to forget that when this country entered World War II, our nation was suffering from a decade of economic depression, we were not a rich country, and our military was only the 17th largest in the world. Yet our country was never more united, and at the height of the war, we had ships in every ocean and armies on five continents.

As was said about the men and women of World War II--the Greatest Generation--uncommon valor was a common virtue. They were not warriors by nature, just lovers of freedom and their country.

Most of them were modest sons of a great country and many of us are very proud to call them dad.

Yet they truly saved our country and quite literally the freedom of mankind and then came home and rebuilt the United States into the superpower it is today. Thank you, thank you World War II veterans. Thanks to your example, the rest of us are quite aware that to be born free is an accident, to live free is a privilege, and to die free is a responsibility.

Thank you all for being here today and may God continue to shower down his love and blessings on our great nature.


Max McGrath: Memorial Day--A Day of Thanks With Many Memories PDF Print Email


June 1, 2011:  This will be my fifth Memorial Day tribute to the village's men and women who serve this country with honor and sacrifice.

I cannot write one more time about how I decorated my youthful bike to ride down Pondfield on the way to the after-march picnic.  It would do a disservice to these brave souls.

The freedoms that we take for granted are a gift to all of us as a result of their service.  I am honored to stand on the sidelines as these Americans march before us.  They don't march to honor themselves, but to honor those who rest in the Elysian Fields scattered over too many consecrated peaceful plots world over.

So it is much more important that we hear from those who served.

My reflections on being a vet during the height of the Vietnam War are varied.  I tried very hard to avoid being drafted, but, thanks to my own stupidity, I missed the college deferment tests.  Uncle Sam started to come after me the summer before my senior year in college.  Luckily, the local draft board in Yonkers felt sorry for me because I didn't claim I was medically unfit to serve.  I only asked to be allowed to play football and finish my senior year.

When granted my request, I tried to get into the Air Force flight school and, while I qualified, the schools were filled up. They kept postponing my entrance, and the Army finally said enough and drafted me in Nov of '67.

I spent two years in Aberdeen, Md., as an Army pay clerk watching thousands of young men being trained before being sent off to war.  During that time, we had many returning Vietnam vets who were assigned to our barracks waiting their discharge.  Most did not want to talk about their war experiences.  However, I have vivid memories of these brave men waking up screaming in the middle of the night with their horrid nightmares.

While I am now proud to say that I am a veteran and know it helped shape me as a young man, the '60s were entirely different from today.  Most of the country was against the war.  The military and vets were not respected as brave heroes as they are today.

The draft put a different spin on the military; most tried to avoid it, and the smart and educated, for the most part, did.  But there were others who volunteered or went into the ROTC.  We lost some great friends like Bogus and Biff who would have gone on to do great things had their lives not been cut short.  Among my classmates, Denny Davis ('63), Army, Vietnam era, and Jim "Sarge" Leary, Army, combat decorated, 7th Air Cavalry, Vietnam, served their country well.  So did John D. Doerr, 1st Lt. Army Quartermaster Corps, Vietnam.

Was it worth it?  This is the underlying question for all conflicts where our own young people are sent to put their lives on the line.  The Memorial Days we experienced back in those days were a respectful mixture of melancholy and nostalgia.  Parades on Pondfield Road and on main streets throughout the country mourned lives lost and victories won ... all swept into a unified theme of having saved our country and the free world.  The question was answered by the fact that we had no choice.

The situation is very different now.  With an all-volunteer Army, the sacrifices are made by a relatively small demographic.  They have been recycled over and over into multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The attendant loss of life, physical and mental injury, and the collateral damage to families and loved ones are confined to a relatively small cohort.

"Never in the field of human conduct was so much owed by so many to so few."  Those words from Winston Churchill in WWII certainly ring true today, although the terrain involved hardly qualifies as "free world" criteria; the question remains, "is it worth it?"

A number of years ago, Patty, our two daughters, and I went to The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia to celebrate our anniversary.  I gave Patty a large bouquet of flowers for our room.  Upon returning to D.C., I went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and placed the flowers at the bottom of the "V" of the wall. Although a simple act, it was a powerful moment for me.

To those who served, thank you for my freedoms; I will never be able to repay you for your sacrifices.



Despite Rain, Memorial Day Parade and Events Still On Go: See Schedule of Events PDF Print Email


May 30, 2011:  According to Mayor Mary Marvin, who called MyhometownBronxville at 8:30 am today (Memorial Day), the parade is still on and will begin at 9:00 am as planned.

PTA co-chair Leeann Leahy also confirmed that they will be holding the PTA events after the parade.

Monday, May 30

Memorial Day Parade:  The Memorial Day Parade starts at 9:00 am sharp on Monday, May 30, beginning on the west side of the railroad tracks and parading down Pondfield Road to the front of the Bronxville School where Mayor Mary Marvin will give a Memorial Day address and veterans of all wars will be honored.

Carnival Games on School Field:  After the traditional Memorial Day parade, carnival games will commence behind the school on the elementary school playground and the football field.  There will be burgers by the Boy Scouts available for lunch.

Bronxville Veterans Memorial Exhibit:  The exhibit is open to the public on Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and Monday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm inside the school.  For four years The Bronxville Veterans Memorial Exhibit has been displayed at The Bronxville Women's Club.  With its being brought into the school, kids and grown-ups alike can come to see firsthand what Memorial Day is really about

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