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W. Babylon community turns out for parade

The West Babylon Fire Department Band marches in

The West Babylon Fire Department Band marches in the Memorial Day Parade. (May 30, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

Robert Esposito, 73, stood at the end of his driveway on Arnold Avenue in West Babylon and waved a small American flag.

It was a simple gesture he happily made as the West Babylon Memorial Day Parade passed by his house as scheduled despite Monday morning’s rain.

“Every year I’m here,” he said, adding that the parade brings some life to his block and he enjoys watching the children in the parade go by.

Local Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Knights of Columbus, Lions Club and West Babylon Fire Department all marched in the parade, which has been organized by the American Legion Post 1634 for about 15 years.

“It’s to remember,” said American Legion member Jay Abbondondelo. “But it’s for the community, too. They get very involved with us.”

The West Babylon parade begins at Route 109 and Arnold Avenue and follows the latter, residential street to the American Legion post on Bruce Street. Because the parade winds through the neighborhood rather than on a main road, spectators were gathered at the ends of their driveways and on private lawns to hold up American flags and wave hello as the parade passed through.

Joseph Lapietra, deputy executive director at the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook, served as the parade’s grand marshal. The 32-year resident of West Babylon said he was honored to lead a parade that meant so much to him and his line of work.

“This is a very special day for everyone,” he said.

Photo: The West Babylon Fire Department Band marches in the annual Memorial Day Parade. (May 30, 2011)

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