Pat Connolly, one of the main organizers behind Howard Beach’s annual Memorial Day parade, said it is more difficult this year for him to reach out to prospective marchers.
“The last few years, its been growing and growing, but we lost all our contacts during Hurricane Sandy,” Connolly said. “I’m just so worried about this year.”
This year’s Memorial Day parade is scheduled for Monday, May 27 and will begin at 11 a.m. The parade marches through the residential streets of Old Howard Beach, beginning at Coleman Square and visiting the neighborhood’s Vietnam War memorial at 99th Street and 157th Avenue and World War II memorial at Assembly of God church at 158-31 99 St.
The parade then marches to St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 98 St. before heading back to Coleman Square where the names of all 41 of the neighborhood’s residents lost at war since Howard Beach’s founding is read and their sacrifices remembered.
The march is almost as old as the neighborhood itself.
“I marched in the parade as a kid in the 1950s,” Connolly said.
Connolly said Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops typically take part in the parade, as well as a group from the STARS children’s program, based in Coleman Square, members of the Howard Beach Kiwanis Club and the International Society of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, as well as local elected officials.
But with time running short before this year’s parade, Connolly said he’s working hard to try to line up participants.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) is helping put together a new list of past marchers to contact and Connolly is seeking anyone who has marched before, or wishes to participate this year, to contact him at his home address:
162-23 97 St.
Howard Beach, NY 11414