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Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade honors fallen heroes

May. 30, 2023 By Gabriele Holtermann

Rain or shine, the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, touted as the largest Memorial Day parade in the United States, has been a staple of the quaint Queens neighborhoods since 1927. Thousands lined the parade route under clear blue sky along Northern Boulevard from Jayson Avenue in Great Neck to 245th Street in Douglaston on May 29 to honor the brave men and women who answered their call to service and made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their country.

United States Merchant Marine Academy students march in the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Francis Lewis HS ROTC members march in the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Many onlookers sporting patriotic attire waved Old Glory and cheered on the parade of military vehicles, veteran and military groups and marching bands led by Grand Marshal Vice Admiral Joanna M Nunan, the first female commander of the United States Merchant Marine Academy. This year’s parade marshals were retired Master Sergeant Lawrence Badia and Vietnam veteran Richard Weinberg.

Parade onlookers honor the fallen at the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Vintage fire engines drive along Northern Boulevard.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Other parade honorees included Robert Moravek, the “Man of the Year recipient;” Karen Dinegar, the recipient of the “Woman of the Year” award; and Sean M. Walsh, the recipient of the Community Service Award.

Neil and Heather DiScala from Little Neck said Memorial Day is all about the service members who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

For Neil DiScala attending the parade was part of growing up in Little Neck.

“I’ve been here for 56 years of my life, seeing the parade probably 55 times,” Neil DiScala said. “I only missed it if I was traveling. It’s been a staple in our community.”

“We have two Marines on 247th Street, so it’s about them today,” his wife Heather added.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards marches in the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz greets NYPD officers at the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Congresswoman Grace Meng marches in the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Elected officials including State Attorney General Letitia James, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and Congress member Grace Meng attended the parade.

James said she appreciated not only the onlookers who applauded, but also those who booed because they had the “right to dissent, they have the right to make noise and I appreciate them.”

“Because that’s why we’re marching, and that’s why we’re celebrating this day and honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and for liberty and our Constitution,” James said. “I appreciate all of the fallen, who will be left on foreign soil and all of those veterans who are marching with us today. So I drink from the cup of liberty and from the well of freedom.”

George Grasso, who is running for Queens District Attorney, said he has been attending parade since the early 80s.

“We think of those who gave their all so we can be free,” Grasso said. “But it’s also a celebratory day because that’s what everybody was fighting for. We live in the greatest country in the world. We have our freedom.”

Katz said that Memorial Day was a day to honor the soldiers who fought for their country and didn’t make it home.

“But we also honor those that are still fighting all over the world for our freedoms every day,” Katz said. “I put my kids to bed every night knowing there are men and women fighting around the world for us. We’re happy to be here to honor them.”

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

The NYPD’s Pipes and Drums of the Emerald Society play in the little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

A man carries an American flag along the parade route of the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Military vehicles were part of the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade.Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

 

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