The Patriot Battalion of Francis Lewis High School marched in the 92nd annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade on May 27, which is one of America’s largest Memorial Day parades. Memorial Day honors the people who have sacrificed their lives serving the United States Armed Forces.
“The Memorial Day Parade is important because we want to remember those who have sacrificed everything they had, including their lives, and the time that they could’ve spent with their families,” said junior Gregory Steward, a cadet in Francis Lewis’ JROTC program. “We’re celebrating it with their families, hoping that they know how important it is to our freedom, our rights, and our values as a country.”
Participating in events such as these serve an extremely significant purpose: to celebrate and commemorate those who have selflessly served for the nation and its citizens. People come to appreciate the freedom they have because of the sacrifices these soldiers have made for the country.
“I believe the cadets marching in the parade signifies the awareness and the selfless service that each cadet, in giving their own free time, for them to remind the entire country the importance of never forgetting those people that gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Command Sergeant Major Cabrera, an army instructor at Francis Lewis. “[They] left their brother, sisters, mothers, and kids behind in order to protect our right, for us to be a free country.”
Having the largest patriot battalion in the nation with over 1,000 cadets, Francis Lewis’ participation offers a great amount of awareness. Those who marched in the parade represent Francis Lewis’ patriot battalion as a whole.
“Since there’s a JROTC program in our school, we wear the uniform in order to honor those who have died and show respect during this day,” said cadet Tracy Wang, a junior at Francis Lewis.
It originated in the years following the Civil War but officially became a holiday observed on the last Monday of May in 1971.
“Marching in this parade signifies that Francis Lewis understands these values that we’re trying to protect,” Steward said. “And, as a program, JROTC is trying to raise awareness that Memorial Day is something to be celebrated. These sacrifices have to be understood as a nation.”