Organizers say it’s the longest running Memorial Day Parade in the country, but this year’s veteran-honoring march down Third Avenue in Bay Ridge will be a shell of its former self—and could disappear entirely if it doesn’t find a new way to make up for lost funding, the Daily News reports. $10,000 in public and private donations have been lost from last year.
The biggest hit was $7,000 that State Senator Marty Golden supplied last year, but withheld this year because of cuts in the state budget to community groups. As a result, a third of the usual number of marching bands will participate, there will be half as many portable toilets, there will be no reception to thank donors, and veterans will squeeze into two buses, instead of four, to be carried through the procession.
“It makes me feel sad,” an 88-year-old Bensonhurst resident who was held by Germans in a prisoner of war camp in World War II told the newspaper. “It’s the day we remember our fallen.”
The News continues:
A spokesman for Golden regretted the Memorial Day Parade had taken a hit, but warned the financial picture for next year remained bleak.
“The reality is that these are tough times,” said spokesman John Quaglione. “We get tons of requests and there’s so much good, worthy stuff, but the money is not there right now.”
Of course, there is money everywhere; one way the state raises funds is through taxes, such as the Millionaire’s Tax set to expire in December that legislators may not renew because of opposition from Republican state senators. Clearly, Marty Golden cares more about millionaires than veterans.