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Fallen Marine honored - 39 years later – QNS.com

Fallen Marine honored - 39 years later

The family of a fallen Bayside Marine gathered on 204th Street between 46th Road and 47th Avenue for the renaming of the thoroughfare to “Pfc. Alberto Colon Street,” on Tuesday, February 20.
Thirty-nine years earlier, then 20-year-old Colon was shot and killed while serving in the Quang Nam province of Vietnam. He was buried in Puerto Rico and later given the Purple Heart - awarded by the president to any member of the Armed Forces killed or wounded while in military service.
Colon, the youngest of five siblings, had enlisted after working for a few years in the court system while in high school. He planned to enroll in law school after finishing his tour of duty, his brother Andy Colon, 63, said.
“He joined the Marines because he thought, ‘Maybe when I get out I can get some help with tuition,” Andy Colon said. “But he loved the Marines as well.”
Bayside resident Andy Colon remembered his younger brother as a snappy dresser and a great dancer. The five siblings were inseparable, Andy Colon said, explaining how the family had moved from Puerto Rico to New York in 1952 and settled in Bayside in 1964.
Andy Colon was returning from work on February 22, 1968, when he spotted the military car with two Marines in dress blues outside of the family’s home.
“I knew that if that car pulls up it’s bad news,” Andy Colon said. “I asked them what was wrong, and they said, ‘Can we go upstairs? Can we go inside?’ When we went inside, it just hit real hard.”
For years, Andy Colon has been looking for a way to memorialize his brother in New York, his wife Oliva said. About a year ago, he contacted Community Board 11 in order to have the street near to the home where he has lived for 40 years renamed.
“This is another way to look out from the window at home and remember him,” Andy Colon said of the street sign across the road from his house.
For the renaming, family members flew in from Florida and Puerto Rico - Colon’s father Andres, 87, mother, Maria, 90, and sister Maria traveled from Puerto Rico, sister Gloria and brother Tony came up from Florida, and Andy Colon’s daughter, Lynette, traveled from upstate New York. In addition, Andy Colon’s son, Alberto, came from Astoria
“You usually see family when there is a funeral this is totally different. It was very nice,” Andy Colon said.

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