Annual march down Metro honors those who served
by Holly Bieler
May 26, 2015 | 27 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade 2015
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Forest Hills residents came out in full force on Sunday for the Forest Hills Kiwanis Club and American Legion-organized Memorial Day Parade, reveling in well-earned sunny weather as scores of community organizations, area bands and the occasional antique car descended on Metropolitan Avenue in a show of gratitude for the community’s veterans. “It’s always great to see the pride Forest Hills has for their veterans and to remember those who lost their lives protecting us,” said Borough President and Forest Hills resident Melinda Katz. “This is my home, so I’ve been doing this parade for a long, long time now.” She said that it was important residents remembered the significance of the holiday. “At a time when some folks are out barbecuing and having fun, which is good too, we also need to remember our veterans,” she said. Included in the parade were area groups such as the Girl Scouts Troop 4940 and 4414, members of Jorday Rivera’s dance academy, who performed a routine, and the Richmond Hill Historical Society, among others. Chester Fox, a Forest Hills resident and World War II veteran, said he had taken part in the very first Forest Hills parade decades ago. “This is tremendous compared to what we had when we first started the parade,” he said. “Back then, we would go down to the school yard at PS 144 after the parade and they would have coffee and cake and buns and the kids would play games. They used to pull kids in the parade in little red wagons.” As she watched the parade with her daughter, Forest Hills resident Peggy Cecil said she never missed her neighborhood’s tradition. “I try to come every year,” she said. “I love parades. It’s showing your support and patriotism, and I think it’s great for the children so they can carry on the tradition.” She said her favorite part remained the marching band performances. “You just don’t see that anymore,” she said. “How often do you get to see a marching band? It’s just so admirable to watch this parade. It gives you such a good feeling inside.” Cecil’s daughter, Brae, said the parade also afforded the community a chance for everyone to come together. “It’s nice to see that everyone took the time to come,” she said. “I love seeing all the little kids marching, and I get to see a lot of people I know.” After the procession, marchers converged at Remsen Cemetery where local elected officials and community member celebrated area veterans with a ceremonial salute and prayers. “We’re paying homage, not only to the fallen, but to their families and the entire nation,” said Tom Long, commander of American Legion Post 1424. “These veterans are America’s finest citizens.” West Side Tennis Club president Roland Meier, who served as the grand marshal of the parade, said he thought the event went incredibly well. “It was fabulous to see the turnout,” he said. “And I was able to talk to some of the veterans afterwards.” He said he was already thinking ahead to next year’s parade, and how the parade could expand even more. “I’d like the West Side Tennis Club to help out next year,” he said. “Maybe restaurants could have a parade menu or a parade breakfast to get even more people out there.”
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Maspeth celebrates 31st annual Memorial Day parade
by Holly Bieler
May 26, 2015 | 105 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Maspeth Memorial Day Parade 2015
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Maspeth residents descended on Grand Avenue as they have for the last 31 years on Sunday, with children adorned in patriotic gear, family and friends cooking up hotdogs and cheering on marchers, and every corner of the neighborhood adorned with billowing flags as the community paid their respects to the city’s veterans. “It’s a community that’s very patriotic and friendly. Everyone knows each other, and it continues to be that way,” said Anna Marie Verbil, who has attended the parade with her family every year. She said that even as some of her family has moved out of the area, they continue to converge at the parade every year. “It’s a lot of fun, and we get family time together,” she said, adding that the parade had retained much of the same feel it had when it first started. “It’s changed, but it’s mainly the same. The enthusiasm of the crowd and the spirit is always there.” The parade, which was this year themed “Maspeth Salutes the Star Spangled Banner,” featured performances that have become much-loved traditions in the community, including music from the Christ the King Marching Band and the Maritime Band. Revelers also enjoyed a dose of nostalgia, as vintage cars from the L.I. Antique Car Club and East Coast Car Association took to the road. “This is a huge family tradition for us,” said Sheree DiGiovanna, as she and her family sat outside their home in picnic chairs watching the parade. “It’s a great, strong community, and this has been passed down from generation to generation. Maspeth is very proud of their veterans, and this is a special way to honor them.” Numerous children’s organizations were represented in the parade, with young members of numerous Girl and Boy Scout troops hitting the streets. Deodett Chhakowri, who along with his wife Pearly has been attending the parade annually since they moved to Maspeth 10 years ago, said the parade was especially important as a means of educating young people about the contributions of veterans. “I think [the parade] is very important because it’s very educational for the younger generation to know what took place,” he said. As the parade wound down, community members gathered for a ceremony at Maspeth Memorial Park, featuring musical selections and numerous ceremonial traditions, including the placing of wreaths, the release of doves, and the folding of the flag. The United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth, which sponsors the parade, also paid tribute to local youngsters. Alexandra Tili, a fifth grader at PS 153, and Nicholas Connamo, a seventh grader at IS 73, were awarded first place in the organization’s annual essay contest. Mary Vavruska, a Brooklyn Tech student and Girl Scout in Troop #4618, was awarded the Maspeth Citizen Award for her work in collecting and sending 20 boxes of goods to stationed soldiers. The men of the hour, however, were Maspeth residents and World War II veterans James Desio and William Aronowicz, who served as the parade’s grand marshals. Aronowicz said he would never forget the day. “It was wonderful,” he said, his eyes gleaming. “It’s an honor I’ll always remember.” Although Aronowicz only moved to Maspeth five years ago, he says the community is very much his home. “I love it here,” he said. “I have more friends in Maspeth than anywhere I’ve ever lived. I sit outside on my chair, and people always stop by and ask me how the tomatoes I’m growing are doing.” James Desio said he felt honored by the large turnout. “It’s an honor seeing all the people who came to thank us,” he said. “Everyone deserves that.” He said that his thoughts that day, as they often are, were with those who didn’t make it back from fighting. His brother John was one such hero, losing his life at the age of 26 while fighting in WWII. “I think of him everyday,” he said. “We all have to go, but not in that way.”
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May 26, 2015
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Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade 2015
Forest_Hills_2.JPG
view slideshow (15 images)
Maspeth Memorial Day Parade 2015
Maspeth_14.JPG
view slideshow (21 images)