Thousands gathered this past Tuesday in Massapequa's John J. Burns Park to Salute America, as the Town of Oyster Bay put on the show of a lifetime with fun, music, and amazing Grucci fireworks.
Town of Oyster Bay supervisor John Venditto hosted the evening's festivities, which drew countless residents from all over the area.
"Massapequa and all of the communities that make up the Town of Oyster Bay, are far and away the finest places anywhere in this great nation to live and to raise a family," he said from atop a huge stage that had been erected for this special patriotic event.
Massapequa Pre-Kindergarten students then led the collected masses through the performance of the Star Spangled Banner...in sign language, no less, a feat which seemingly impressed Venditto to no end.
"Our future is looking very bright, thanks to the Massapequa Pre-K students," he said. "Let's hear it for our children! Very well done!"
Next, the audience was treated to local resident Steven Mecca belting out a rendition of America the Beautiful, followed by a special award presentation to selfless Volunteer Veterans of the Year who live in and serve the area.
The recipients of this accolade were Ute Marquardt of Massapequa, Richard M. Hochbrueckner of Hicksville, and Gus Scutari of Syosset, all of whom were presented with special certificates of merit for their contributions to society.
Overlooking the thousands in attendance was an enormous 60' by 30', 92 pound American Flag, suspended between the extended ladders of two fire trucks. This very same flag had been unfurled on a building overlooking the site of Ground Zero in Manhattan while ongoing rescue and recovery operations were ongoing after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and it's presence in Burns park lent a poignant feeling to the patriotic proceedings this evening.
"It's a beautiful sight," said Casey McKullen of Farmingdale. "To know that that very flag was waving while firefighters searched the rubble at Ground Zero, giving them the courage to carry on such a horrible task. That makes me proud to be an American citizen."
But, before the dazzling pyrotechnic display lit up the heavens above Burns Park, courtesy of famed Long Island-based fireworks manufacturer Grucci, the crowd was first treated to the red-hot musical stylings of Country Western superstar Aaron Tippin.
Taking to the stage with a large backing band and delving into a music catalog dating back to his debut in 1990 with the hit song "You've Got To Stand For Something," Tippin hyped up the audience with a high-energy set that had the thousands of Oyster Bay residents clapping and singing along with his good ol' boy antics.
Finally, the moment everyone was waiting for: big, pretty explosions. The Grucci fireworks display finally went underway, much to the delight and awe of the spellbound crowd. Deafening explosions mixed with bursts of dazzling, multi-colored light painted a beautiful picture across the night sky, striking a chord in the hearts of every red-blooded American present.
Marge and Bob Dillon of Massapequa had a novel way of enjoying the fireworks while avoiding getting bogged down in the crowds.
"We parked over by the High School, walked over, and set up our lawn chairs by the entrance of the park," Marge said. "After all, we can still hear the music, and we can certainly see the fireworks from here. And once the show's over, we'll be the first ones out before traffic gets bad. Sounds like a great evening to me!"