May 23, 2014

An American tradition, forever young

“Decoration Day” was established three years after the end of the Civil War as a time to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. The first large-scale observance was held in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. By the 20th century, Memorial Day commemorated all those who died in military service. Yet the holiday is much more: a time for hot dogs, apple pie and Americana.

In 1903, the Katonah post of the Grand Army of the Republic went to the cemeteries of Bedford, Bedford Station (soon to be renamed Bedford Hills), North Salem and Cross River to decorate soldiers’ graves. At 2 p.m., they held a service at the Katonah Methodist Church, which was at its current location on Bedford Road. “Citizens,” stated organizers, “are cordially invited to attend.” Nearby, sports fans turned out for a baseball game between the “Katonahs” and the “All-Collegians,” a semi-professional team, played on the “Old Katonah Field.” Admission was 25 cents.

Save for a little technology here and there, little has fundamentally changed in our neck of the woods.

Since then, the solemn aspect of the day — the last Monday in May — has remained. In 2000, Congress established a “national moment of remembrance” encouraging all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time to reflect upon those who have died in service to the nation.

Bedford’s residents continue the tradition in each of the three hamlets, with parades and ceremonies kicking off at 9 a.m. In Bedford Hills, ceremonies are held at the Community House World War I Memorial and at the World War II, Korean and Vietnam war memorials at the intersection of Bedford Road and Main Street.

At 10 a.m. in Katonah, a parade and ceremony is sponsored by the Katonah American Legion Post 1275 and the Katonah Fire Department. The procession moves from the fire department, down Katonah Avenue and up The Parkway to Lawrence Circle, where ceremonies are held at the World War I, World War II and Civil War memorials. Afterward, the parade continues down Bedford Road and concludes at the fire department, with a bell honoring all veterans who were also volunteer firefighters.

In Bedford Village, the day gets special meaning with the annual bike-decorating contest, sponsored by the Bedford Village Lions Club in partnership with the Bedford Village Fire Department. Kids ages 1-12 can let their “patriotic spirits fly” by decorating their bikes and riding in the parade from Seminary Road to the Village Green. Bike registration takes place from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in front of the firehouse, and prizes are awarded at the conclusion of the ceremonies.

The Bedford Village Memorial Day parade and ceremony is also sponsored by the Bedford Fire Department and the Bedford Village Lions Club. The parade starts at 11:15 a.m. at the corner of Seminary and Pound Ridge roads and takes a right onto Pound Ridge Road (Route 172) to the Village Green. The ceremony is held at the World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War memorials located at the flagpole on the Village Green. Afterward, head over to the fire department for refreshments.

American Legion Post 1575 is hosting a picnic, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the American Legion Hall, 136 Jay St. Everyone is invited.

At noon, Pound Ridge paradegoers will gather along High Ridge Road or near the Town Park on both sides of the street heading to the cemetery across from the Town Park. Throughout the day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., residents are invited by the Pound Ridge Business Association to the Antiques, Farmers/Bakers and Crafts Holiday Outdoor Markets on Westchester Avenue in Scotts Corners. The markets bring collectors and browsers from all over to Scotts Corners to check out the antiques and collectibles displayed by over 50 vendors.

Parades, remembrance, outdoor events and a kick-off to summer — the tradition continues. See you there!

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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