STATEN ISLAND — The parade will go on...at least for another year.
Richard Kohn, co-chairman for the parade, said that dwindling attendance and trouble fundraising may make 2013 the last year they march around the neighborhood.
This year’s grand marshal Walter Osborn, 70, said that even though the parade faces trouble he’s confident it will continue to march on for another year.
“It’s a nice family day parade,” he said. “It’s a nice community parade. I hope to see it go on."
Kohn teared up when he remembered his father marching in the parade when he was younger and said the parade needed to be saved to keep the tradition going.
“I remember all the guys, with all their medals and everything, and waving to my father,” he said. “It has to [continue].”
Kohn said that shrinking sales of a 50/50 raffle, veterans not marching because of old age, and younger veterans not participating has put the parade on hard times.
The parade also takes place around the same time as the larger Memorial Day parade in West Brighton, but Molinaro said there’s room in the borough for both.
“I think it’s important to keep the tradition going,” he said. “It’s very important, especially in these times.”
Previously, the parade was on a 20-year hiatus until Kohn and Timothy Rice resurrected it in 1995.
While this year will be smaller, Kohn said that this year’s event will still have around five bands, free flags for children, and food and drinks in the afternoon after the march.
Osborn, who served in Vietnam in the Air Force and raised over $10,000 for the Wounded Warriors Project, said that he was surprised and honored to be chosen as the grand marshal for the parade that he and his wife, Grace, has attended every year since they moved to the neighborhood.
“I’m honored,” he said. “It came out of the great blue sky.”