“Freedom is not free —someone died for it.”
The famous saying, which is etched on a Vietnam memorial plaque placed near the Howard Beach train station, served as a reminder to hundreds of residents who lined up along the streets of Old Howard Beach Monday morning to pay tribute to servicemen and women past and present.
The community’s annual Memorial Day Parade, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, began with a Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church and was followed by the laying of wreaths at the World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials and a ceremony at Saint Barnabus Church.
Korean War veteran and Army Sgt. Lawrence Genovese served as the parade’s grand marshal, leading veterans, residents and groups such as Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 139 and students of the Connelly Dance Center and Ven Jitsu Goju karate in Howard Beach from the train station to Coleman Square, where refreshments and ice-cream treats were provided.
Among the speakers who paid tribute to the country’s fallen heroes were state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Ozone Park) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens and Brooklyn).
— Lisa Fogarty