Events large and small are happening around the borough over the long Memorial Day weekend to honor those who served in wars past and present.
The big parades closest to Western Queens will take place in Maspeth and Forest Hills. A day long celebration is also planned for McManus Park in East Elmhurst and smaller observances will be held in Woodside and Long Island City.
The Maspeth Memorial Day Parade will kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The parade will start at 56 18 69th St. and proceed down Grand Avenue, turn right on 61st Street, and continue to 56th Road and Clinton Avenue, before proceeding back to Grand Avenue, where it will end at Grand and 69th Lane. Parade coordinator Marlene Sommella expects 11 bands, 80 soldiers and sailors, and students from the ROTC programs at Francis Lewis and Aviation high schools.
Following the parade, a ceremony will be held to dedicate the Walk of Honor in memory of community leaders. At the ceremony, bricks inscribed with names will be placed at the entrance to the Veterans Memorial at 69th Street and Grand Avenue.
The Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade will also be held Sunday, and will begin at noon at the American Legion Continental Post 1424, located at 107 15 Metropolitan Ave. and end at Remsen Park on Woodhaven Boulevard. The parade will feature Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gold Star Mother Maria Gomez. Gomez, of Corona, is the mother of Army Sgt. Jose Gomez, a member of the Army Reserve who was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad on April 28. The parade is also expected to include eight marching bands and as many soldiers and sailors as are available, parade coordinator Louis Neir said.
Also on Sunday, the United Community Civic Association will hold its annual ceremony at 10 a.m. in McManus Memorial Park, at the corner of 81st Street and Ditmars Boulevard in East Elmhurst. The New York Corrections Department pipe band is expected to participate, along with the Honor Guard of Vietnam Vets, Queens County American Legion Post 298, the Long Island City Junior ROTC cadets Honor Guard, Jewish War Vets and the Antioch Baptist Church Choir of Corona. Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sante Venanzini, along with elected officials and clergy, are expected to attend.
On Monday, the Catholic War Veterans Post 870 will hold a special mass at 10 a.m. at St. Sebastian’s Church, 39 63 57th St. in Woodside. Following the mass, a procession will be led to lay wreaths at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, at 58th Street and Woodside Avenue, and at the World War II Memorial, at 55th Street and Woodside Avenue.
A small ceremony is also planned in Long Island City. American Legion Post 797 will hold an 11 a.m. service at the flagpole in Court House Square. Post members invite the public to join them in the ceremony and proceed back to the post at 36 19 30th St.