Tag Archives: Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade

Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day march to honor Vietnam vets

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Vietnam War veterans and the city’s top veterans’ advocate will be recognized in a special way during the 85th Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.

Regarded as the largest Memorial Day march in the country, the parade will feature as many as a dozen bands including the West Point marching band from the U.S. Military Academy. This year’s march will place additional emphasis on Vietnam War veterans, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of American involvement in the conflict. More than 58,200 American soldiers died in the decade-long war.

“We felt it was long past time to specially honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice there and those who bear the memory of their fallen brothers and sisters,” said Douglas Montgomery, who co-chairs the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Association.

Leading this year’s march as grand marshal will be Dr. Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, who also is a retired Army brigadier general. Sutton served as the command surgeon for the Multinational Force in Iraq and was previously deployed to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt. She earned various military honors including the Bronze Star Medal, the Presidential Service Badge (White House Fellow) and the Legion of Merit.

The association will also honor Douglaston resident Carl F. Mattone, president of Mattone Group LLC, as its man of the year. Along with developing numerous large-scale projects throughout Queens, Mattone contributes to his alma mater, Holy Cross High School, and various charitable organizations including the Queens Library Foundation, the Italian Charities of America, the Order of Sons of Italy, the American Cancer Society, the Queens Museum of Art and the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program at College Point’s P.S. 129.

Lidia Bastianich, the Emmy-winning host of her own PBS cooking show and Douglas Manor resident, will also be recognized as the association’s woman of the year. Bastianich opened her first restaurant in Forest Hills, and over the years expanded her culinary empire across the country. Like Mattone, she is active in a host of charitable causes, providing support to the Bowery Mission, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, the Global Orphan Project, the Italian American Committee on Education and the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

The association will also recognize Jerry Vilbig with its community service award. Vilbig served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War and is presently vice commander of American Legion Post 103 in Douglaston, which sponsored the first Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade. He is an active member of the Udall’s Cove Preservation Society board of directors.

Scheduled to take place rain or shine, the march steps off at 2 p.m. on May 25 in Great Neck from the corner of Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue. Participants will head west along Northern Boulevard to the yard of St. Anastasia’s Church, located near Northern Boulevard and 245th Street.

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PHOTOS: Queens marks Memorial Day 2014

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photos by Queens Courier staff

Memorial Day was marked all around Queens County with parades and commemorations honoring the nation’s fallen soldiers.

The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade held its 87th annual march on Monday, May 26. The event was marked with more than 2,000 marchers and spectators converging on Northern Boulevard, according to the parade’s sponsor, the American Legion Post #103.
Maria Giuffre sat on the curb with her dog, Rosie, and her kids as the parade started.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio attended the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade. (Photo by Dominick Totino Photography)

“We came early to get good seats because we’re very lucky to have this parade,” she said. “I like to watch all of the bands and get a taste of the local flavor of this area.”
Giuffre’s son, Michael, held an American flag in his hand and tried to stay cool by hiding in the shade under a tree.


“I like all the old cars,” he said. “They’re really cool and different.”

Among the local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Charles Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio also joined the ranks to celebrate Memorial Day.

Maspeth Memorial Day Parade

Parades were also held in Maspeth, College Point and Whitestone throughout the weekend and Monday. In College Point, Vietnam veteran Tom Lee recalled people he’d lost over the years during the parade on Sunday.

“Memorial Day has always been meaningful because you always think about all the guys who didn’t come home,” said Lee, who was a private first class during the war. “When you think about Vietnam, there were 58,000 who didn’t come home. I came home so it’s very meaningful.”

College Point Memorial Day Parade

Photo courtesy of Borough President Melinda Katz’s office 

Lee watched as surviving veterans like himself made their way down College Point Boulevard. It was his favorite part of the parade.

“We’re lucky we’re still here not only for surviving the war but being survivors in life,” Lee said.

In Maspeth, the Frank Kowalinski Polish Legion Post #4 sponsored a parade that ran along Grand Avenue. Mike Falco, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Maspeth, handed out American flags to people watching the parade. The club is made up of volunteers and every year a group of 10 or 12 members are amidst the throngs, passing out American flags.

Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade (Photo by Dominick Totino Photography)

During the 82nd Whitestone parade, Joseph Pantano thought about his fellow soldiers with whom he fought during the Korean War and WWII.

“They’re all gone now,” Pantano said. “The last reunion I went to there were only six of us left that I know of from the original battalion.”

Whitestone Memorial Day Parade

Additional reporting by Paulina Tam 





Little Neck residents come together to save annual Memorial Day Parade

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

File photo

Follow me @liamlaguerre 


The show will go on.

The United War Veterans Council (UWVC) hosted the first of a series of meetings to organize the Little NeckDouglaston Memorial Day Parade, which was in danger of being canceled this year, on Wednesday, March 19, at Community Church of Little Neck.

Since the former parade board was dissolved, the UWVC, which organizes the annual National Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan, reached out to help save the event.

The UWVC isn’t taking over the event, but just wants to help the community organize the parade, which started in 1927.

“We’re not uncomfortable by taking this leap, and we are not uncomfortable to say to you that if you want it, we could help you get it done, but we can’t do it, you have to do it and we will help you keep on track and make sure that it happens,” said Vince McGowan, president and founder of the UWVC.

About 60 residents, some of who were on the former board of the parade, packed the room at the church, full of resolve to keep the parade alive.

The UWVC just took a census from the room about saving the parade. They then talked about the committees that would be needed to organize the parade, including the Executive Division, Legal, Treasury, Parade Operations, Marketing, Public Relations, and Institutional Involvement, Dignitary, Opening and Closing Church Ceremony Committees. They also noted possible volunteers from the community.

Past parades cost about $30,000, so the UWVC believes it should cost about the same this year. The group is pledging $10,000, and former State Senator Frank Padavan donated $1,000, according to Geraldine Spinella, who was the head of the Treasury Committee of the former board of the parade. Many kinks still need to be worked out, but residents left feeling confident the parade will be back again.

“The best people in the community were in this room and they will get it done,” said Spinella, who volunteered to continue as the head of the Treasury Committee.

Anyone that wishes to volunteer should attend the next meeting on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Community Church, or visit the parade’s website or Facebook  and Twitter accounts.