Independence Day on Main
Last year, Stage Door School of Dance won the trophy for Closest to the Theme. The girls wore patriotic hair bands.

Adv/Lori Devlin

Independence Day on Main

Story By: NICOLE FUENTES
6/27/2019


 

Red, white and blue will adorn the streets of Patchogue for the annual Patchogue Lions Club Independence Day Parade, scheduled for Thursday, July 4 on Main Street.

The 65th annual parade will honor WWII veteran and Patchogue Lions past president Sam Stahlman.  

“Sam being honored as grand marshal fits perfectly with this year’s parade theme of Salute to Our Veterans – Heroes in Our Hearts,” parade chairperson Peter Feehan said of the theme and the grand marshal.

In addition to a salute to the vets, the parade will also honor American Legion Post 269 for their 100th anniversary celebration.

Stahlman, 94, enlisted in the Army at 17 and fought in the D-Day invasion landing at Normandy and later in the Battle of Bastogne. A wounded vet, he received the Purple Heart and after healing, continued in combat. During his time at war he was awarded several awards, including the Bronze Star and Presidential Commendation twice and a combat infantry pin.

He currently lives with his wife, Renee, as a retired Pat-Med substitute teacher and volunteer varsity football coach. Stahlman had a son, Eric, was who was killed in 9/11, and has a daughter, Kathy, and three grandchildren. He has been a member of the Patchogue Lions Club since 1958, was named to the Veterans Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Pat-Med Hall of Fame in 2018.

The parade, which will kick off at 10:30 a.m., will make its way east on Main Street from West to Rider avenues, with a viewing stand at Capital One Plaza, where Feehan will be announcing the parade participants as they pass by.  

Thousands will gather, as always, to watch over 50 bands, fire engines, floats, veterans groups and more, led by the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard’s color guard.

“It’s always been tradition to hold the parade on the Fourth of July — it has only been rained out once in the past 20 years,” said Feehan, who is in his ninth year as parade chairperson.  

He credits the success of the parade to the Lions Club members.  

“It’s really not about any one person. Without the support of the membership as drivers, marshals and committee members, it would never come together,” he added. “The parade is one of our biggest member-participating events.”

The Patchogue Lions currently have 61 members and though their main mission is to be knights of the blind, they also direct their energies to assist those with hearing and diabetes-related conditions.  In recent years, they have expanded their fundraising efforts and donations to help the community as a whole.

EARLIER THAT DAY

The restored original headstones of several Revolutionary War patriots will be dedicated in a solemn ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on July 4 at the Lakeview Cemetery. This includes the “lost and found” Rev. Luke Ruland headstone that disappeared for over 20 years and was returned to the Cemetery Restoration Committee of Patchogue last fall. The Rev. Luke served under George Washington and later was the first Baptist minister in Patchogue. He was buried in the cemetery in 1809. Pastor Steve Willoughby, the current pastor of the First Baptist Church of Patchogue, will speak, and a number of the Rev. Luke’s descendants will be in attendance.