By Dustin Brown
The month after the war in Iraq came to a swift close, residents across western Queens are preparing to honor the nation’s fallen heroes in an array of Memorial Day celebrations.
From Astoria and Howard Beach — and everywhere in between — the borough is gearing up to hit the streets with bands, flags and songs in a year when war is no longer just a memory.
“It seems like there’s a little surge of patriotism,” said Julius Landherr of Glendale, who organizes the annual Glendale-Ridgewood Memorial Day Parade.
The recent boost of patriotism comes at a time when veterans of earlier generations’ wars are dying in greater numbers, Landherr said.
“More of the veterans are getting older and passing away,” Landherr said. “We still try to keep the spirit alive.”
But even as war in Iraq and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 give the day more immediate relevance to borough residents, many community leaders stressed that the meaning of the day remains powerful regardless of recent history.
“It’s significant every year,” said Monsignor Michael Hardiman of St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church in Woodside, where a parade will step off Monday. “It’s an appropriate time for us to stop and remember that there is a price to freedom … Sometimes the price is the loss of human life.”
The Memorial Day ceremony in Astoria will be held at a monument honoring Frank McManus, the first community member killed in Vietnam, but will honor all people who died serving the country.
“Since 9/11, so many others have given their lives needlessly,” said Rose Marie Poveromo, the president of the United Community Civic Association, which sponsors the event with state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria). “There has to be peace in this world. There must be peace in this world.”
Western Queens residents can observe Memorial Day by attending any number of events on Sunday and Monday:
Sunday, May 25:
* Astoria — Memorial Day Ceremony at McManus Memorial Park, corner of 81st Street and Ditmars Boulevard. 10 a.m. Rain or shine.
* Forest Hills — Parade starts in front of American Legion building at 107-15 Metropolitan Ave. off Ascan Avenue and proceeds west on Metropolitan Avenue to Trotting Course Lane. Services held at Remsen Cemetery. Begins at noon.
* Maspeth — Parade steps off from Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue. Route heads south down Grand Avenue, turns around 61st Street, ends at Grand Avenue and 69th Lane. Begins at 1 p.m.
Monday, May 26:
* Glendale/Ridgewood — Parade starts at Glendale Memorial at Cooper and Myrtle avenues and 70th Street, marches west along Myrtle to Cypress Avenue. Begins at 11 a.m.
* Howard Beach — Parade follows mass at Our Lady of Grace, at 100-05 159th St., proceeds around Coleman Square at corner of 159th Street and 103rd Road and ends at 157th Street. Mass begins at 9:30 a.m.
* Woodside — Parade follows mass at St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church at Roosevelt Avenue and 58th Street. March stops at Catholic War Veterans building on 61st Street and Roosevelt Avenue and ends at Doughboy Park at Woodside Avenue and 56th Street. Mass begins at 10 a.m.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.