Tag Archives: memorial day

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.

Click here for more details.


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 





Memorial Day 2014 parades and events in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

The following Memorial Day parades and other related events will take place in the borough.



Sunnyside Gardens Park Annual Memorial Day Fair
12 p.m.
Sunnyside Gardens Park (48-21 39th Avenue)



Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade
12 p.m.
Metropoiltan and Ascan avenues

Maspeth Memorial Day Parade
1 p.m.
Begins at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park 72nd Street and Grand Avenue

College Point Memorial Day Parade
2 p.m.
28th Avenue and College Point Boulevard



Laurelton Memorial Day Parade
9 a.m.
Francis Lewis & Merrick Boulevard to the Veterans Memorial Triangle

Broadway Astoria Festival
11 a.m.
Broadway Merchants & Professions, along Broadway from Steinway to Crescent St.

Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade
11 a.m.
Coleman Square

Glendale and Ridgewood Memorial Day Parade
11 a.m.
Ridgewood Memorial Triangle, Myrtle and Cypress avenues

Woodside Memorial Day Parade
11 a.m.
St. Sebastian’s Schoolyard, Woodside Ave and 57th St.

Whitestone Memorial Day Parade
12 p.m.
149th Street and 15th Drive

Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
2 p.m.
Northern Boulevard between Jayson Avenue and 245th Street

PHOTOS: Memorial Day parades in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Check out our photos from the Memorial Day parades held in Queens this holiday weekend. Click on the links below to see the photo gallery for each parade.

MORE PHOTOS: Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade 

(Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo)

MORE PHOTOS: Maspeth Memorial Day Parade

MORE PHOTOS: College Point Memorial Day Parade

MORE PHOTOS: Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade

(Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo)

MORE PHOTOS: Glendale and Ridgewood Memorial Day Parade

(Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo)

MORE PHOTOS: Whitestone Memorial Day Parade

MORE PHOTOS: Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade

MORE PHOTOS: Laurelton Memorial Day Parade


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Clear. High of 75. Winds from the West at 5 to 15 mph. Monday night: Clear. Low of 57. Winds from the SW at 5 to 15 mph shifting to the NE after midnight.

New York beaches open on Memorial Day despite Hurricane Sandy scars

Not all the repairs are finished, not all the sand is replaced and not every nearby business has recovered. Read more: ABC New York/AP

New York City launches nation’s largest bike share

New York City’s long-awaited and much-hyped bicycle-sharing program is finally set to begin. Read more: ABC New York

Suspect in Queens man’s kidnapping: “I made a mistake”

A man charged in the brazen abduction and brutal captivity of a Queens businessman says he “made a mistake” but he’s “not acriminal.” Read more: NBC New York

Poll: New Yorkers want more surveillance cameras

The NYPD’s eyes in the sky may be unpopular with some civil rights groups, but a recent poll found New Yorkers overwhelmingly would like to see an expansion of the number of surveillance cameras. Read more: CBS New York 

City set to collect $550 million in parking tickets this year: Report

Parking tickets may be the bane of New Yorkers’ existence, but for companies with large delivery fleets, the fines are just the cost of doing business. Read more: New York Daily News 

NY officials urge preparation for hurricane season

State officials are urging New York residents to prepare for hurricane season. Read more: NBC New York


Benefits for veterans

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The U.S. Department  of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of benefits to our Nations Veterans and their families. In order to receive VA benefits certain criteria must be met. A veteran must have been honorably discharged and had at least one day of active service.

  • Burial in a National Cemetery- Veterans, their spouses, and dependant children are eligible for burial in a national cemetery at no cost to the family. This includes a marker for the grave and a concrete grave liner for the casket. Please note if a veteran is not buried in a national cemetery, the veteran’s family could be eligible for a plot allowance reimbursement of up to $300 dollars. Please contact the VA when applying for this benefit.
  • Reimbursement of Burial Expenses- A burial allowance may be paid to help offset expenses of the veteran’s funeral and burial. The allowance is payable to someone who died with a service connected disability, were in receipt of compensation, or received a pension/ retired pay. The family of a deceased veteran may also receive partial reimbursement if they died in a VA facility. Please note the family must apply for this benefit with the VA to be reimbursed.  The forms required are: 1. 21-530, Application for burial allowance; 2. DD214- Military proof of service form; 3. One certified copy of a death certificate; and 4. Copies of funeral/burial bills.
  • Headstone or Marker– The VA provides a headstone or marker for veterans buried in any cemetery worldwide.
  • Flag- An American Flag is provided to drape the casket or accompany the urn of an eligible veteran. The flag is presented to the veteran’s next of kin upon burial.
  • Presidential Memorial Certificates- Family and other loved ones may request these personalized certificates. You or your funeral director must obtain VA Form 40-0247 to apply for these certificates.
  • Military Forces Honor Guard- New York State in July of 1999 established a program where honorable discharged veterans are eligible for Funeral Honors. This is of no cost to families and funeral directors. If desired please inform your funeral director at the time of arrangements.

The above information is a brief description of Veterans benefits. The VA has a wide range of additional information. You can contact them at 800-827-1000 or go to their website www.va.gov  for further questions. Walker Funeral Home has the applications, pamphlets and other forms available if you need to apply for any of the above benefits. We can also assist you if you have any further questions.

Walker Funeral Home




Memorial Day parades and events in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

The following Memorial Day parades and other related events will take place in the borough.



Sunnyside Gardens Park Annual Memorial Day Fair
11 a.m.
Sunnyside Gardens Park (48-21 39th Avenue)



Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade
12 p.m.
Metropolitan and Ascan avenues

Maspeth Memorial Day Parade
1 p.m.
Grand Avenue and 72nd Street

College Point Memorial Day Parade
2 p.m.
28th Avenue and College Point Boulevard



Laurelton Memorial Day Parade
9 a.m.
Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards

Broadway Astoria Festival
11 a.m.
Along Broadway from Steinway to Crescent Street

Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade
11 a.m.
Coleman Square

Glendale and Ridgewood Memorial Day Parade
11 a.m.
Glendale Memorial Triangle, located at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 70th Street

Woodside Memorial Day Parade
11 a.m.
58th Street and Woodside Avenue, St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church

Whitestone Memorial Day Parade
12 p.m.
149th Street and 15th Road

Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
2 p.m.
Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue






Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Irish Music Concert in Sergeant Collins Park 

Visit Sergeant Collins Park for a concert of Spirited Irish Music with a Global Twist. Admission free, all welcome. Jigs, reels and more. Catch the Celtic Spirit! Fiddle-guitar duo Cady Finlayson & Vita Tanga with Tim Alworth on percussion.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

State DOE slams Jamaica HS in report 

The New York State Department of Education is out with a scathing report on Jamaica High School. The report says two special education teachers are uncertified, there are no honors or SAT prep courses, and science and math classes have been cut. Read more: [NY1] 

Refurbished Forest Park Carousel enjoys a summer rebirth as crowds rediscover ‘jewel’  

The historic Forest Park Carousel, reopened after years of being shuttered, is rebuilding its audience this summer. It has hosted almost 15,000 rides since Memorial Day and long-time residents are rediscovering it every day. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Veteran sushi chef Taka Terashita sets up shop in the Rockaways

Taka Terashita rolls with the punches. When the chef lost his job in March, Terashita decided to take his sushi skills to the newest food frontier, Rockaway Beach. Surf Sushi in the Beach 96th St. concession area was the first location for Rockapulco Eats, a Daily News summer series that analyzes the deluge of finer food that has taken the boardwalk by storm. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

City Correction Department to battle Rikers Island violence with body scanners 

The latest in high-tech body scanners are not for passengers boarding an airplane. But for inmates locked up on Rikers Island and in other city correctional facilities– Prisoners who may try to sneak a blade or other weapons past correction officers. Read more: [NY1] 

Bad call by ex-pol 

In a move that was amazingly foolish and incredibly brazen, a former Queens lawmaker now under indictment on federal bribery charges called an FBI informant at the center of his corruption case — only minutes after he was released on $1 million bail — in a possible attempt to obstruct justice, stunned officials said yesterday. Read more: [New York Post] 

The good, the better and the bad in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE GOOD . . .

Queens came out in force on Memorial Day to pay tribute to those heroes who have fought – and continue to fight – for the freedoms we enjoy.

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out, freedom is not, in fact, free, and the men and women in uniform – from our Armed Services to the NYPD and FDNY – fight every day to preserve and protect our liberties.

So it is with great pride that we say “thank you,” and are glad to have seen the patriotic displays this Memorial Day.

But let us also remember the other 364 days in the year in which to be grateful for our veterans.



Score one for the community coming together.

It was a long-fought and hard-won battle, but a Flushing Key Food will NOT be replaced by yet another pharmacy.

We say congratulations because, by coming together, the community was able to affect change.

Residents opposed the change, especially since the area has several pharmacies, including one across the street from the supermarket, but the store owner felt pressured to leave the property.

Rallies ensued, and the owner, politicians and even the locals sent a clear message – “keep our Key Food.”

We’re glad to say their message has been received.


THE BAD . . .

Seniors deserve respect.

The Friendship Center of the Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults (JSPOA) is just one of many facing cuts as part of the city’s budget for the 2013 Fiscal Year, which, if not restored, will phase out programs for members — many of whom are mentally and physically weak.

But aside from the visible benefits to seniors, these centers also serve as a “home away from home” for many.

Programs offered help to keep members active and healthy. Often, the meals provided are the only source of nutrition for these people.

And the benefits seniors receive through socializing at the centers are immeasurable. Most would otherwise face very lonely days.

So we implore the mayor – look beyond the numbers to the HUMAN aspect.

Look at the REAL costs of these dollar-saving measures, and, as one senior aptly pointed out, “[Don’t forget you’re] going to be old one day.”


Queens celebrates Memorial Day

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Thousands of Queens residents lined the streets this weekend to celebrate the troops past and present who have fought to protect the country.  Check out the photos from every parade.

Click here to see all the pictures from the Whitestone Veterans Memorial Day Parade.

Click here to see all the pictures from the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade.

Click here to see all the pictures from the Little Neck Memorial Day Parade.

Click here to see all the pictures from the Laurelton Memorial Day Parade.

Click here to see all the pictures from the Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade.

Click here to see all the pictures from the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade.


No garbage, recycling collection on Memorial Day

| brennison@queenscourier.com

In observance of Memorial Day, there will be no garbage or recycling collection or street cleaning on Monday, May 28.

Those who normally receive garbage pickup on Mondays should place their trash curbside after 5 p.m., the Sanitation Department said.

Residents who usually have recycling collection on Monday will have it picked up on Monday, June 4.


Op Ed: The Meaning of Memorial Day

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Councilmember Mathieu Eugene

By Councilmember Mathieu Eugene

Chair, NYC Council Veterans’ Committee

Each year since the end of the Civil War, we set aside a day to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers who have fought bravely to serve and protect our country. We take time to remember the countless number of service members in our nation’s history who have made invaluable sacrifices to maintain our way of life and preserve the gift of freedom we enjoy as a people. Most important, we share the memories of all service members who have passed away in the line of duty and retell their story to younger generations to ensure their place in our nation’s history never becomes overlooked or forgotten.

On Memorial Day, we show our admiration for all members of the military who have fought overseas and followed the call of duty, even when confronted with the uncertainty of returning home. We remember the contributions of service members within our communities and from our families who deserve recognition for their own individual efforts. I don’t believe we can thank service members enough for what they’ve provided for us, but I hope that by coming together, as we do every year in observance of Memorial Day, we can display our highest level of respect and honor.

As we all know, many service members remain on active duty and continue to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world. While we remember those from every period of our history, let us also take this opportunity to reflect upon those who currently serve our country and express our support for the job they continue to do. As more and more troops come back to the United States, we need to find ways of welcoming them home and demonstrating that we are grateful for their service. Memorial Day should serve as a day when we say thank you to the service members and veterans we know from our personal lives and show them that we care.

As the Chair of the Veterans Committee in the New York City Council, I am proud to serve veterans living across New York City and work to address the issues faced by service members when they become discharged from the military. As a city, I believe that we should do more to strengthen the services, programs and benefits available to veterans. It is unfortunate to see veterans who are homeless, searching desperately for a job, or suffering from mental health problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We need to continue raising awareness of these challenges and also create a stronger support network for veterans who may benefit from services offered by the city, state and federal government.

This Memorial Day, let us remain focused on addressing the issues affecting veterans, recommit ourselves to honoring their service, and help fight for them, just as they fought for us.


Queens filmmaker memorializes uncle’s World War II experiences

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Queens resident and military veteran Joe Reveman’s experiences during World War II are forever memorialized in a biographical film depicting his life as an active member of the United States Armed Forces.

Filming began almost two years ago when Reveman’s nephew, Bryant Falk, proposed the idea for a documentary. Falk always enjoyed hearing his uncle’s stories depicting his days in the Army. Having previous experience as a commercial film director, Falk saw this as a great chance to make his first documentary-style movie.

Reveman was drafted to be a pilot in the Air Force of the United States Army in 1943

“I was young, 18. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t have much of a choice,” said Reveman. “When I got to England I was apprehensive, but I was glad to help at the end of the war.”

As the war continued, Reveman became a radio operator onboard B17 Bomber planes. Their mission was to obliterate the German air and railroad supply.

He flew 24 missions over Germany. His last mission took place on Friday, April 13, 1945.

“It’s a date that will live in infamy in my mind,” said Reveman.

Flying in formation, the planes prepared to release their bombs over Germany. One plane’s bomb release malfunctioned and several bombs dropped at the same time, striking each other and exploding. Reveman’s plane lost control.

The pilot regained control of the plane and they began to gradually descend over the border between England and German-occupied territory. Unsure of which side they would touch down on, the crew prepared for a wheels-up landing.

But as the wheels touched ground, they struck a slab of marble, slicing the plane in half.

When Reveman regained consciousness, he crawled from the crushed aluminum.

“I saw blue skies,” he said.

Trucks appeared in the distance. Still unsure of his location, Reveman hoped the approaching vehicles were those of the Allied Forces. A Red Cross ambulance with a United States insignia pulled up next to the destroyed plane.

“Everyone breathed a little easier,” said Reveman.

The line where Reveman crashed had been occupied by American forces only a few days prior. Two weeks later, the war ended.

Reveman received a Purple Heart award and five air medals, one medal for every five missions he flew.

The challenges returning veterans face

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the IAVA

When Anthony Pike returned home from his first tour of duty in Baghdad in 2004 nothing was waiting for him.

For years he had worked in community affairs and wrote articles for newspapers while in the Marine Corps. He expected to work in journalism back at home, but instead he couldn’t find work anywhere and ended up taking a job hanging flyers and posters.

Many young returning vets find themselves in a similar situation after serving their country, according to Pike.

“It’s frustrating,” he said, adding that he finally became a membership coordinator last year for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America [IAVA]. “There’s no reason why a combat medic who served in Afghanistan shouldn’t have a certification to be an EMT.”

Pike, 30, of Astoria, said returning vets face the problem where employers don’t hire them, because they don’t have the academic documents to verify their abilities.

“It’s an epidemic,” he said. “It’s part of the reason why military unemployment is higher than civilian unemployment.”

Although he didn’t engage in battle, when Pike came home, he began suffering from nightmares and had problems adjusting, others issues vets have to deal with.

“I try to separate the two,” said Sean McCabe, a vet from Ozone Park. “Instead of waking up every day thinking someone’s trying to get you, coming back home is a relief.” McCabe, 28, said he was never diagnosed, but he faced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], in which sufferers have vivid memories of traumatic experiences. He credits his wife and his daughter with helping him overcome it.

“My wife has been the best,” McCabe said. “I could be in the darkest tunnel and she’ll walk out with me on the other side.”

He said many employers are also afraid to hire workers because they misunderstand PTSD, and the slim working availability makes him want to return to action.

“Not a day goes by where I think I wouldn’t mind being back there,” McCabe said. “I miss my guys and I was good at my job.”

To help vets get jobs and back to society, Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder has drafted two bills.

Bill 9969 would enable veterans to take civil service exams at discounted rates, giving them access to more jobs; Bill 9872 would allow for military service to be deemed eligible credit for a high school diploma.

“In these tough economic times we got to give every person the opportunity to succeed and get back to work, especially the vets who put their lives on the line,” Goldfeder said.

McCabe, who supports Goldfeder’s bills, said there is a “positive shift” and pointed to the work of the Wounded Warriors Project and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, organizations dedicated to helping veterans acclimate to civilian society.

“It’s really come a long way, there is still more to do,” McCabe said. “But they’re making their way.”