Tag Archives: ceremony

Flight 587 ten years later: Holidays without a loved one


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.

For Angilda Delacruz, 21, without her aunt and godmother Magnolia Pena, the upcoming holidays are the toughest part of the year.

“When we were little, we would always go to her house, and she would always have these baked cakes ready and chocolate lollipops in her fridge. We would always get in trouble for stealing them,” Delacruz said.

“The holidays were her thing. We always knew that out of everybody, we would always get the best presents from her. The first couple of years after this happened, we didn’t really celebrate the holidays because it wasn’t the same,” she said.

Although it took almost a decade, Delacruz said her family has gotten used to the loss, and has started celebrating the holidays again.

“It doesn’t feel like 10 years,” she said. “It feels weird. It feels like time stood still, yet it passed by so fast at the same time.”

The family also just welcomed a new addition, one-month-old Gavin, who would have been Pena’s first grandson.

“Every time that a big moment happens, I think about her not being there. She was the one we all expected to always be around,” she said. “I know that it seems like everybody says this, but she was the best person ever.”

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Astoria street renamed for leader, activist Ann Buehler


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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The honors bestowed upon Ann Buehler throughout her life grew in number on October 8, when the long-time community leader was memorialized with the unveiling of a new street sign bearing her name.

Buehler, who passed away last year at the age of 94, was a civic leader and the first female executive director of the Variety Boys and Girls Club. She was also a Republican state committee member in northeast Queens for many years.

The renamed street corner, dubbed Ann Buehler Way, is located at the intersection of 21st Street and 30th Road in Astoria, the site of the neighborhood’s Variety Boys and Girls Club.

Members of the Club and the Buehler family were joined at the unveiling by Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas.

Mary Demakos, a dear friend of Buehler’s, presided over the ceremony, and Tena Vallone, a Boys and Girls Club volunteer and the mother of the councilmember, offered a tribute.

“Ann helped and inspired thousands of kids at the Boys and Girls Club,” said the councilmember. “Her name and memory will live on – right on the corner where so many youngsters walk by to use the Club each day so that they can connect with friends, share meals and engage in fun and productive activities.”

Buehler was an active board member of the Club beyond her 90th birthday, and she was a volunteer at “Variety-The Children’s Charity Annual Telethon and Radiothon” for well over a decade. She was also instrumental in the allowance of girls to become members, at a time when the organization was known only as the Boys Club.

Among the many distinctions Buehler earned during her life were numerous citations and proclamations from various Queens legislators and a citation from President Harry Truman in reward for her volunteer work during World War II.

New citizens sworn in at Queens Center


| amanning@queenscourier.com

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“I pledge allegiance to the flag…” rang out the voices of 30 children who had become citizens of the United States just moments before the patriotic ceremony held at the Queens Center Mall.

The young men and women were administered the Oath of Allegiance to the United States in the 11th Annual Citizenship Ceremony held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It was an exciting day for the children who represented 16 countries, ranging from Haiti to Thailand.

As children anxiously fiddled with their American flags, Dawn Simon, senior marketing manager of Queens Center, described “one of the best events” at the mall, saying that it is “driven, strong, and purposeful… and encapsulates Queens’ ethnic diversity.”

Joseph Cardinale, field office director, was the master of ceremonies. While he led the children, who ranged in age from five to 15, in proudly waving their flags, he reminded them that this is “once in a lifetime, so make the most out of it, make the best out of it.”

Wenxu Chen, 14, realizes the importance of Cardinale’s message. “This day is very important,” he said, adding that he will never forget it. Originally from China, Chen has been in this country for six years. Although he was admittedly very nervous today, he still had fun, a sentiment that would probably resound with all of the other children who took part in the ceremony.

The patriotic event included a keynote address from Borough President Helen Marshall, herself the daughter of Guyanese immigrants. She repeated a common theme, telling the children to make sure that they go forth and serve the country that is now officially theirs.

“We want to encourage you to continue in the spirit of giving back to your community through service and volunteering, and to never, ever give up your dreams,” said Simon in her welcoming remarks.

The newly minted young citizens were even shown a congratulatory message from President Barack Obama, who urged them to “keep the beacon that is America burning bright for the world to see.”

“U.S. citizenship is the best gift that the Citizenship and Immigration Services can bestow upon someone, so we value having that authority,” said Shyconia Burden-Noten, Community Relations Officer of the USCIS. “Just the look on the faces of the citizens. It’s phenomenal. It makes you proud to be an American.”