Memorial Day 2024

by Arthur Mayer

(husband of Gail Schwartzman Mayer, Class of 1973)

A few weeks before our annual Hicksville Memorial Day Parade, I attended one of the high school’s concerts, which included our daughter’s final performance, as she is a graduating senior.  In our school’s lobby, encased behind glass, is a simple tribute to Kevin T. Kolm, USMC, a son of Hicksville killedKevin Kolm Never Forget while serving his country in Iraq in 2004.  While I have viewed this window many times, because it was May and Memorial Day would be fast approaching, I began to think about how much the town of Hicksville and, particularly, our Hicksville schools, have held fast to its commitment to honor and pay tribute to those who have died in service to our country.  To gain a deeper appreciation for how our town embraces the effort to “Always Remember” the ultimate sacrifices made by its young people, I decided that a visit to our Memorial Garden, adjacent to Hicksville Middle School, before Memorial Day was essential. I visited on a quiet day when I could get up close to the plaques and monuments.  

Kolm Article 7 Middle School MemorialVeterans Memorial at Hicksville Middle School

Not having grown up in Hicksville, I was surprised when the first monument I chanced to view revealed a dedication dated July 4th, 1919, honoring those who died during the First World War.  From the sketchy history I have acquired online or in conversations, I knew that the building we refer to as our Middle School, in fact, opened in 1924 as the combined Middle and Senior High Schools.  So the initiative to honor Hicksville’s war dead had its seeds planted at yet nickschoolNicholai Street School (Photo from high school building located, on Nicholai Street.  What followed, I can conclude from the serene, understated beauty of our Memorial Garden, is a continuing effort to maintain an enduring tribute, reflecting the utmost respect for those we lost throughout the years in faraway places, including Europe, Korea, Vietnam/ Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.  The trail of tragic loss had spanned the early 20th century through 100 years into our 21st century Hicksville when war took the life of Kevin T. Kolm in 2004.

There are many variations of the statement that “…a hero can die twice, once with their actual demise and twice if they are forgotten and their name not spoken again.”  My solitary visit to our Memorial Garden and attendance at our Hicksville Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies, joined by our first responder heroes,  local veterans and benevolent organizations and lodges, serves to reinforce that Hicksville will always keep the promise of remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

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