Memorial Day is far more than the opening of summer – the city officially opened public and private beaches on Tuesday, May 25 – New York was the first to recognize “Decoration Day,” as it was then known, as a state holiday in 1873.
The first official creation of “Decoration Day” came on May 5, 1868, when General John Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued General Order No. 11, setting May 30 as the day when flowers would be placed at the graves of both Union and Confederate dead at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
It was not until after World War I that the day was declared to honor the memory of those who died in all of America’s wars. In 1971, an act of Congress declared that Memorial Day would be observed on the last Monday in May.
Since 2000, “The National Moment of Remembrance” has been observed at 3 p.m. local time throughout the U.S.; Americans are encouraged to observe one minute of silence to remember the fallen.
No fewer than 10 neighborhoods around the borough hold remembrances or parades on or about the last Monday in May, to honor those who gave their lives in defense of the nation. These are upcoming events.
Saturday, May 29:
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunnyside Gardens Park holds its Annual Memorial Day Fair, including a barbecue, arts and crafts and games for children, at the park located at 48-21 39th Avenue (Rain date May 30). For more information, visit www.sunnysidegardenspark.org.
Sunday, May 30:
At noon, the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade steps off at American Legion Continental Post 1424, 107-15 Metropolitan Avenue and heads down Metropolitan Avenue to Remsen Park. For more information or to participate, call 718-520-8623.
At 1 p.m. the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade begins at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue. For more information, call 718-651-7888.
At 2 p.m. (rain or shine) the College Point Memorial Day Parade begins at 28th Avenue and College Point Boulevard and marches to McNeil Park. Call 718-762-0506 for information.
At 2 p.m. the Broad Channel Memorial Day Parade marches from the foot of the Veterans Memorial Bridge north on Cross Bay Boulevard to the FVW memorial at 6th Road. For more information, call 718-634-5106.
Monday May 31:
At 9 a.m. the Laurelton Memorial Day Parade begins a day-long celebration, from Francis Lewis and Merrick Boulevards
At 11 a.m. VFW John V. Daniels, Jr. Post 2813, located on Queens Boulevard in Woodside, will have a brief Memorial Day ceremony and lay a wreath at Daniels square. All are invited to attend.
At 11 a.m. the Ridgewood-Glendale Memorial Day Parade begins after a ceremony at Ridgewood Veterans Triangle at Myrtle and Cypress Avenues and marches east on Myrtle to the vicinity of the Glendale Memorial Triangle at Myrtle and Cooper Avenues where the Allied Veterans of Greater Ridgewood and Glendale will hold a concluding memorial ceremony. For more information, call 718-366-0121.
At 11 a.m. the Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade begins at Coleman Square, near the train station, returning to end there.
At 11:30 a.m. the Far Rockaway American Legion Memorial Parade, this year honoring WWII veterans, steps off at Beach 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, to Beach 94th Street. There are ceremonies before and afterwards. Call 917-685-4974 for information.
At noon, the Whitestone Memorial Day Parade steps off at 149th Street and 15th Drive in the town. For more information, call VFW Post 4787 at 718-767-4323
At 2 p.m., the 83rd annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade starts at the corner of Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard in Great Neck and ends in St. Anastasia’s schoolyard in Douglaston. The day includes an Interfaith Service at 10 a.m., wreath-laying ceremony and post-parade activities including free glaucoma screening in the school yard. For more information, visit www.memorialdayparade.org.