Elected officials and local veterans gathered on Memorial Day, honoring Dennis B. Murray, the brother of Shawn Murray and Carol Murray Bonanza, center, as well as Glen Cove Memorial Day Grand Marshall SSgt. Cherise S. Herrera, second to right. (Photo by Jennifer Corr)

Glen Cove Honors Heroes

Glen Cove knows how to honor veterans and the fallen.
On Sunday, May 28, local dignitaries and veterans began their observation of Memorial Day by laying wreaths at the numerous monuments honoring servicemen and women around Glen Cove. And on Memorial Day, ahead of the annual parade, a ceremony was held at Memorial Park in front of First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove to honor the late Dennis B. Murray, who fought in Vietnam, and Staff Sergeant Cherise S. Herrera, who served as this year’s grand marshal of the parade.

Glen Cove High School marching band and cheerleaders joined in on the
Memorial Day Parade.

SSgt Herrera reported to Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC after graduating from Glen Cove High School and studying education and psychology at Cortland College. Her intelligence and drive has placed her in a variety of assignments in munitions, logistics, training, recruiting and legal administration assignments. She’s received numerous awards and decorations, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the National Defense and the Good Conduct Medal.
“On this Memorial Day, I am thankful for the sacrifices throughout our nation’s history that have been made by men and women for their families, who had to carry on without them,” said Chaplain Fred Nielsen during the invocation. “It is for those who have not made such a sacrifice an easy thing to forget. For those who have sacrificed, freedom is like oxygen. Without thinking it is something we have and many will not understand just how precious freedom is until those freedoms are at risk of being taken away.”
Dennis B. Murray, and his family, certainly sacrificed.
Murray was born on Dec. 12, 1947 and grew up in Glen Cove. His brother Shawn Murray described him as the best brother for him and his sister Carol Murray Bonanza. He loved driving, and enjoyed working on his two ‘56 Chevys. He loved listening to Motown music.
From 1964 to 1965, Murray attended Eastern Military Academy, now Oheka Castle, developing award winning horsemanship skills and bugling. He then continued his education in Glen Cove, graduating in 1967. A year later he was drafted into Vietnam. But before going to Vietnam, he came home to marry Shirley Papsidero at St. Patrick’s R.C. Church. The two got to spend some time in Hawaii.
When he was off to war, he quickly learned how to drive the M113 Military Personnel Carrier (MPC). And on June 12, 1969, his company was directed to an enemy concentration with traps in the area of Quang Nam Province. The MPC hit a 500 pound bomb and flipped over, killing Murray. His remains were recovered three days later to be sent home. His devastated mother, Genevieve, went on to become a participant in the annual Memorial Day Parade as a Gold Star Mother.
“I graduated from high school a year before Shawn [Murray] and about two years before Carol [Murray Bonanza],” said City of Glen Cove Mayor Pam Panzenbeck. “We all knew that their brother had been killed in Vietnam, and never really spoke of it. So at this time I apologize. We were kids. We always didn’t know how to handle it and I apologize to you and hopefully this honor will make up for it today.”
Shawn and Carol were presented with multiple citations from elected officials, including New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine. They held a moment of silence for their brother. “Please know your brother is our true hero,” Panzenbeck said to the siblings.
“Every year, with the help of the [Memorial Day] Committee, try to find somebody we should honor and if you look at all these monuments, you find that there’s a lot of folks that are deserving, that offer their lives for our country,” said Tony Jimenez, a Vietnam veteran who’s very active in the Glen Cove community. “One of our members suggested that in the past, he would go over to the Dennis Brian Murray Park and just sit there, look at the monument, look at the flag and just contemplate. And I know I did the same thing too. A number of years ago, when that park was named in his honor, I had the honor of giving his mom a bouquet of flowers. I gave her those flowers, and then at the close of the meeting, I wept. I cried like a baby, wondering why we’re honoring him for his sacrifice and why I’m still here. I never quite figured out the answer to that, and maybe I never will, but what I try to do is live my life the best I can to show why it was worth bringing me home, through my actions.”
Jimenez then presented the siblings with a beautiful plaque.
“He was 21 years young when he gave his life for our country,” Shawn Murray said. “We remember him as a carefree guy growing up in an era of muscle cars and pompadour haircuts, both of which he had. His favorite pastime was working on his ‘55 Chevy and dancing to the Motown sounds. He was our older brother and our hero in many ways. He had a bright future to look forward to when he returned home from Vietnam. His new bride, Shirley Papsidero, was waiting for him, as well as his family that he loved very much.”
He added that this year, he and Carol are proud to represent their brother by riding the same parade route as their mother, who would ride in a convertible car annually.
Following the ceremony, Glen Cove City School District marching bands, local veteran groups, bagpipers, the Murrays and many more marched and rode through the streets of downtown Glen Cove to not only mark the “unofficial first day of summer,” but to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.


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