A group of 20 boys from Sussex County marched proudly in New York City’s Veterans Day parade on Friday, Nov. 11. Members of Troop 382 in Dagsboro were joined by members of Troop 105 from Long Neck for the appearance.
Vinny Tallarico, assistant scoutmaster of Troop 382 and a New York City native, said he was “tour guide” for the three-day trip. In addition to marching in the parade, along with 25,000 others, the boys visited the World War II aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Intrepid, as well as the 9/11 Museum.
While in New York, the boys camped on Staten Island, at the Camp William H. Pouch Boy Scout Camp, Tallarico said, which included cooking their own breakfast, packing lunches and cooking dinners at the campsite. Taking advantage of free subway fares and ferry tickets available to non-profit groups, the troop members were able to keep costs for the trip down to $90 per person.
Tallarico said the toughest part of the trip for the boys was the three-hour wait for the 1.4-mile parade to start, although he said that, with all the other parade participants also waiting, along with the sheer novelty of being in New York City, the boys found plenty to keep them occupied.
Although he himself lived just outside New York when the Twin Towers were struck, Tallarico said the trip to the 9/11 museum was particularly meaningful for the boys, who were too young to remember or not even born yet when the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred in 2001. The Boy Scouts on the trip are mostly between the ages of 10 and 17. Most had not been to the 9/11 memorial or museum before the trip, he said.
This was Troop 382’s second time walking in New York’s large Veterans’ Day parade. The first time was two years ago. That first trip came about because Tallarico happened to have a personal connection with the person who organized New York City’s parades, who helped him garner the troop a spot in the annual parade.
“I knew somebody,” he said. That trip, he said, “was a big hit, and we decided to make it a bi-annual event.”
Including adult chaperones, 62 people went on the trip.
The experience was valuable for the boys, who practiced their formation a bit beforehand, and who enjoyed the attention from the parade audience, Tallarico said.
“The people clapping made them feel good,” he said.
For himself, Tallarico said he enjoyed seeing service members along the parade route, often wearing hats and other clothing that identified their military connection and often the conflict in which they had served.