By John Tozzi
Now a piece of that street between 46th Road and 47th Avenue bears his name and his memory on the block where one of his brothers, Andy Colon, still lives. On Tuesday, 39 years to the day after Colon was fatally shot in Quang Nam province, his family, fellow veterans and Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) gathered to unveil Pfc. Alberto Colon Street.”Thirty-nine years ago there was sadness then, and now there is joy,” said Gloria Colon, his sister, who flew in from Florida for the ceremony.The Colon children remembered the day on Feb. 22, 1968, when two Marines got out of a car on their street and walked to their door.”He was in the infantry and he had been out on a patrol and they had just been gotten back,” Andy Colon said. “They got ambushed. He received a shot in the head and he was killed instantly.”Two other Marines were wounded in the attack, he said. Colon was buried in Puerto Rico and posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.The Colon family moved to Bayside in 1964, 12 years after they came to New York. Alberto Colon was the youngest of five children – his oldest brother Tony also served as a Marine – and they filled their two-family home on 204th Street: three brothers, two sisters, their parents and a cousin.”We occupied the whole house, upstairs and downstairs,” Andy Colon remembered.Colon was working in the court system in the mid-1960s when he enlisted. He hoped to go to law school someday, his brother said, and joining the Marines would help him afford tuition. He was shot just a month after his 20th birthday in the early weeks of the Tet Offensive.Eight other Marines or soldiers who listed Bayside as their hometown of record were killed in the Vietnam War, according to a casualty list maintained by the National Archives.For the ceremony Tuesday, Colon's family – his father Andres, 87, and mother, Maria, 90, came from Puerto Rico, brothers Tony and Andy, sisters Maria and Gloria, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren — all returned to their Bayside home. Standing beneath a bright green sign reading “Pfc. Alberto Colon Street,” his brother Andy said, “We've been in this house for over 40 years, and hopefully we'll be here a little longer.”Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 174.