The Salute to Israel Parade!!!
I participated in the very first one. It was in either 1964 or 1965. A handful of us traveled from Great Neck to Manhattan representing our Great Neck Synagogue NCSY chapter. I wasn't yet comfortable and knowledgeable about Manhattan, and I remember that the guys--could I have had been the only female in the delegation? possibly--were in charge and found the place. Of course, I was typically hysterical that we were late, because that's how I was. For me if I wasn't early, it meant that I was late. after 25 years in Shiloh, I've learned how to take it more easily.
That first parade was rather small, but it was thrilling. The next year I was back, and every year until we got married and moved to Israel after the 1970 parade, which I marched twice!!
From 1967, I danced the parade route with NCSY. That year Leah Weiner, z"l, was in charge of the dance group, and the parade was the follow-up of the Israel Folk Dance Festival, which had been held earlier, in Carnegie Hall. The following year NCSY had a float, and we danced and rode, like "celebrities," or so we felt, in matching outfits. A picture of me and my friend Debbie (Klaff) Dan was used by the Jewish Agency the following year to advertise the parade.
Besides dancing down (or was it up?) Fifth Avenue with NCSY, I would run to the Betar delegation as soon as I finished and then march with them. I'm not the spectator type, and I was young, fit and energetic all those decades ago. It was only a couple of miles, not much compared to my recent marches to Jerusalem.
In 1977, we managed to get to New York for a visit just in time for the parade, and we marched with our three daughters; the youngest was only a year.
Since then, the march lives in our memories, and I'm glad that it continues.