Tag Archives: Vietnam Veterans of America

Middle Village service held for burial of 100th indigent Vietnam veteran

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) continue to support their brothers and sisters in arms, even after death. On Friday morning at Hess-Miller Funeral Home, Chapter 32 of the VVA held a ceremony for their 100th indigent veteran.

Edsell Smith served in the United States Marine Corps from 1972 to 1976, and when he died this year he was survived by no family members. When a member of the military dies with no family members, the VAA takes responsibility in burying their fellow veteran.

“We are the organizational friends of indigent veterans, which in essence makes us the family of the veteran,” said Paul Narson, president of Chapter 32 of the VAA. “We hold a ceremony for the veteran and we will go to Calverton National Cemetery and inter him. We will fold the flag, present the flag to a member of the organization. We bring the flag back to our headquarters and hang it on the wall with a plaque with his name on it next to the other 99 veterans.”

Smith’s coffin was draped with an American flag at Hess-Miller Funeral Home as members of the VVA presented the colors.

“I believe this chapter has done a real public service by highlighting this issue,” said John Rowan, national president of the VVA. “And making sure that, at least going forward, that no one gets lost in the shuffle.”


Memorial Moving Wall is moving experience

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Dara Drake


Jane Pescatore said it brought tears to her eyes.

The Middle Village resident was one of many who attended the opening ceremony of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall on Friday, June 29, when it went on display to the public.

“This is just such a beautiful thing – it brought tears to my eyes – and I’m glad it could be brought to the neighborhood for everyone to see” said Pescatore.

With residents, elected officials and others present, members of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) read the names of the 37 soldiers who hailed from Queens listed as prisoner of war or missing in action (POW/MIA).

“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” said Paul Narson, president of the VVA #32 of Queens, which worked in conjunction with the Veterans Day Parade Committee, Maspeth Federal Savings and the United Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth to bring the half-sized replica of the Memorial Moving Wall to Juniper Valley Park through Monday, July 2.

This was the Wall’s second visit to Queens – it was on display in Cunningham Park in 2004.


Queens Veterans Day Parade honors those who served

| rcasiano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo. The third annual Queens Veterans Day Parade drew 800 local veterans and their supporters to Middle Village this past weekend.

The third annual Queens Veterans Day Parade drew 800 local veterans and their supporters to Middle Village this past weekend to honor those who served in the Vietnam War.

Veterans from the Vietnam Veterans of America, Queens Chapter 32 and the North Shore Marine Corps League were joined by several community leaders and organizations on Sunday, November 6 for a parade and ceremony at Christ the King High School.

During the only Veterans Day parade in Queens, the community cheered on their Vietnam War vets, some of whom recall the criticism at home for serving in the then very unpopular war.

“It was great to be appreciated, but look how long it took,” said Pastor Toro, Jr., of Ridgewood, who was honored as one of the Grand Marshalls and is the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Queens Chapter 32. “I am standing up here for all the Vietnam War veterans. We have their backs.”

The ceremony capped the afternoon parade that had various groups march 10 blocks from Metropolitan Avenue and 79th Place to the high school.

School groups such as the Sunnyside Drum Corp. and the Sacred Heart Twirlers and many more supporters joined the Queens veteran groups as they marched. Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley and Peter Vallone Jr. were also on hand to salute the veterans at the parade.

David Hills, a Marine from Forest Hills, stood on the sidelines with his wife, cheering on the classic cars, bag pipe music and his comrades who marched in the parade.

“It’s the biggest parade I’ve ever seen. It’s very nice,” said Hills, who is a member of the North Shore Marine Corps. As he watched, a committee member thanked him for his service with a handshake.

“It’s terrific,” he said of the acknowledgment. “We really appreciate it when they say that.”

The annual Queens Veterans Day Parade started three years ago out of a need from the community to salute their troops closer to home.

The parade was sponsored by the Catholic War Veterans Post 1172, Middle Village Chamber of Commerce and the Middle Village Property Owners and Residents Association.