Ridgewood and Glendale Honor Troops With 86th Memorial Day Parade

By Britney Trachtenberg britt@queensledger.com

Credit: Britney Trachtenberg

The communities of Ridgewood and Glendale held their 86th Memorial Day parade on Mon., May 27 around 11:00 a.m. at the corner of Myrtle Ave. and Cypress Ave. The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale sponsored the parade.

The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale started in 1920 with a mission of creating monuments for service members who lost their lives in World War I. The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee consists of Brewery-Keenan Heisser Post 1815 of the American Legion, Joseph B. Garity Post 562 of the American Legion, Ridgewood Post 123 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.), Lt. Alfred Lucia Chapter 118 of the Disabled American Veterans organization, and Glendale Post 104 of the American Legion, and Sgt. Edward Miller Post 7336 of the V.F.W. The auxiliaries of the Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale include Edward R. Miller Post 7336 of the V.F.W. Auxiliary, Ridgewood Post 123 of the V.F.W. Auxiliary, and Lt. Alfred Lucia Unit 118 of the D.A.V. Auxiliary. 

Russell Goeller, Parade Chairman and member of the Brewery-Keenan Heisser Post 1815, hosted the opening ceremony and called each speaker to the microphone. Sailors and Marines from the Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bataan (LHD-5) in Norfolk, Virginia gathered in the street to listen.

Father Dariuz Blicharz of St. Matthias Roman Catholic Church gave an invocation. Larry Biordi, member of the Lieutenant Alfred Lucia Chapter 118 of the Disabled American Veterans organization, spoke the Pledge of Allegiance and Russell Goeller, III sang “God Bless America. Attendees who had gathered on the sidewalk joined in. Father Blicharz gave a benediction.

Goeller introduced James “Jimmy” Dwyer, Grand Marshall of the parade. Dwyer signed up for the U.S. Navy at sixteen years old and fought in the Vietnam War. The Grand Marshall said, “‘All gave some. Some gave all.’ You hear that said a lot and that’s what today represents. We remember those who serve our country and fell in the many, many conflicts and wars this country has been in. That’s the purpose of Memorial Day.”

NYC Council Members Robert Holden and Jenifer Rajkumar spoke during the opening ceremony.

Holden showed a photograph of Eddie Hoyt, a sailor who died at nineteen years old aboard the USS Jacob Jones. Hoyt’s family lived near Holden’s family. After Hoyt’s passing, Holden’s mother became a pen pal for sailors. Though she corresponded with many sailors, one caught her eye. The man became Holden’s father.

Rajkumar thanked the Sailors and Marines for their service. She said, “Every day, I thank God that I was born in the greatest nation on Earth and all of us have to prove ourselves worthy of the sacrifice made by those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

The Joseph B. Garity Post 562 American Legion Firing Squad conducted the Salute to the Dead.

Participating organizations walked 1.4 miles from Myrtle Ave. and Cypress Ave. to Myrtle Ave. and Cooper Ave. Police from the 104 Precinct led the floats along the route. The Allied Veterans of Ridgewood/Glendale and Glendale Post 104 American Legion shared the first float, followed by a float from the Kiwanis Club of Ridgewood with the 104 Precinct and NYC Community Board 5.

Caroline Barnes, Music Teacher, led the drum line from Hawtree Creek Middle School in a lively performance with choreography. Barnes said, “We perform all over the place for different events. This is our first Memorial Day event. We are the junior G-line for the New York Giants. We started in 2018, but in the past three or four years, we started to get some recognition.”

Members from the NYPD American Legion Post 460 marched, followed by NYPD police officers in a pink car which honored Women’s Veterans Recognition Day. 

The Sacred Heart Twirlers from Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Glendale performed a routine with their batons.

Walter Rastetter, Assistant Scout Master, led children from Scouts America Troop 427 of the Sacred Heart Parish. He said, “We march every year in this parade.” 

Members of Gotham Volunteer EMS carried the American flag, POW MIA flag, and NYS Excelsior flag. The Middle Village Volunteer Ambulance Unit 7, FDNY Unit 286, and FDNY Unit 135 followed in their respective vehicles.

Police officers from the NYPD Community Affairs, Highway Patrol, and Auxiliary attended the event. The Toys for Tots East Coast Car Connection and members from the Knights of Columbus Council 5103 made appearances at the parade. 

Representatives for Johanna Carmona handed out flyers to promote her campaign for NYS Assembly. Representatives from Wendy Li’s office handed out flyers to promote her campaign for Surrogate Court Judge.

Goeller led a closing ceremony at Myrtle Ave. and Cypress Ave. Desiree Wisotsky sang the National Anthem, joined by attendees who followed the parade to its final stop. Deacon Peter Stamm of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church said an invocation and Biordi recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. spoke at the closing ceremony about the housing crisis affecting veterans. He said, “Too many of our veterans come home from serving our country and they do not have access to a home. That is disgraceful. We recommit our work to ensure that you have housing when you come home. We are now undergoing the redevelopment of the [state-owned] Creedmoor site where we pushed for veterans’ housing to be on that site.”

Marissa Corston sang “God Bless America” and Deacon Stamm administered a benediction to end the parade.

The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale plan to hold the 87th parade on May 26, 2025.