Friday, September 05, 2003


From the Halls of the Firehouse,
Marines Parade for Dan Daly
The US Marine Corps Band came from Quanitco, Virginia to participate in the Dan Daly Memorial Parade. Photo by D.E. Russell
By Jack Mancusi

Dwight Eisenhower once remarked, "What counts is not the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog." Truer words could not be spoken of Glen Cove's own Daniel Daly, a two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Measured by stature (5'6" tall and 135 pounds), Daly was not a big man. Measured by his accomplishments, the United States Marine was larger than life. Daly earned his first Medal of Honor in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion when he single-handedly manned a defensive barricade in Peking, China. Attacked by the Chinese throughout the night, Daly repulsed all advances on his position until reinforced.

Daly's second Medal of Honor came in 1915, during the insurrection in Haiti. On patrol with approximately 35 Marines, Daly's group was ambushed and pinned down by more than 400 Cacos rebels. Daly maintained defenses throughout the night and was dangerously close to being overrun. At daybreak, Daly organized and led a three-pronged attack on the rebels. This fierce counter-attack so surprised the Cacos, they scattered in all directions and allowed the beleaguered Marines to reach the safety of their fort.

During its 140 year history, only 3,439 men out of literally millions who served in our armed forces have ever been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (Mary Walker, a Civil War nurse, is the only female recipient). Of the 3,439 men to be so honored, only 19 won a second Medal of Honor. In 1957, to commemorate Daniel Daly's heroic actions and two Medals of Honor, the Glen Cove Housing Authority on Glen Cove Avenue named their facility after him. Most recently, the Sunrise Detachment of the Marine Corps League from Massapequa approached the City of Glen Cove and suggested that the city have a parade to once again honor Daly in his hometown.
A Parade of Heroes

In commemorating the past, we celebrate the present. Daniel Daly is the most decorated son of Glen Cove, but he is not the city's first hero, and he certainly won't be the last. On Sunday Aug. 10, the City of Glen Cove hosted a parade in honor of all Long Island's heroes, both past and present. The first annual Daniel Daly Parade not only stretched along School Street from the firehouse to Monument Park, the parade stretched the boundaries of time.

There were three Marshals in this year's parade: Vice Admiral Joseph Stewart, Colonel Warren Foersch, and Lt. Commander William Kempner. In addition to the Sunrise Detachment, marchers included the Garden City-based 2nd Battalion 225th Marines, just back from recent service in Iraq. Although the New York weather was a bit warm and humid, the Marines remarked that compared to Iraq, where the temperature approached 130 degrees, they felt like they were in air conditioning. Glen Cove's own Carlos Shimabukuro, a 1994 graduate of Glen Cove High School, was among the 225th Marines. Shimabukuro was stationed in Nasiriyah, the southeastern city in Iraq which was the scene of heavy fighting. Due to national security issues and the sensitive nature of Shimabukuro's duty as a scout/sniper, Carlos was unable to speak on the record of his combat experience. It shall suffice to say that Carlos served his country proudly.

Another representative of Glen Cove High School, Principal Joseph Hinton, a Marine who served in the first Gulf War, was also present and marching. Hinton looked sharp in his dress uniform, still fit with no signs of "button pull" across the front of his shirt.

Many Glen Cove organizations marched in the parade including the VFW James Donahue Post 347, American Legion Post 76, Glen Cove Police Department, Glen Cove Fire Department, Glen Cove Harbor Patrol, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 8. From neighboring towns came the American Legion Post 336, Glenwood Landing; American Legion Howard Van Wagner Post 962, Locust Valley; and the James Brengel Post 456, Sea Cliff.
Post Parade Ceremony

At the end of the parade route at Monument Park there was a short ceremony accompanied by music from the Marine Corps Band, which had made the trip up from Quantico, VA. Colonel Warren Foersch gave a brief summary of Daniel Daly's war record and quizzed the crowd. People in the audience learned that in addition to winning two Medals of Honor, Daly had also won a Navy Cross for heroic action in the Belleau Wood, France during WWI.

Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp added, "The City of Glen Cove is proud to support our nation's troops. This first-ever Dan Daly parade honoring our city's double Medal of Honor recipient was a fitting tribute to a local Marine hero. I want to thank the Sunrise Detachment Marine Corps League for coordinating this event. We look forward to next year's parade."

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi was also on hand. Suozzi remarked that the accomplishments of Dan Daly are a part of Glen Cove's history of which few people are aware. Suozzi was pleased to see that groups from all over Long Island were present to celebrate Daly's great accomplishments in history. He went on to say that by honoring Dan Daly, we were honoring all veterans, whether they be front line combatants or support personnel.
Somber Reminder

As the ceremonies drew to a close and the crowd began to depart, all present came away knowing they had just taken part in something very special. The recounting of Daly's war record and the welcoming home of Marines from Iraq left everyone with a great sense of patriotism, joy and pride in our country. This sense of joy and pride was somewhat tempered by an underlying sense of great sacrifice. The only "float" in the parade was near the end. Trailing behind the marching bands, bagpipers, and impressive young Marine warriors was a small, empty, Vietnam-era "monkey cage." The monkey cage was fashioned from bamboo and was typical of the confines used by the North Vietnamese to imprison U.S. servicemen. This small, unassuming display spoke volumes. Not all of our heroes receive medals. Not all of our heroes come home uninjured. Not all of our heroes come home at all.

Semper Fi!