By Phil Corso
There are Memorial Day parades throughout the country, but only one owns the Web address memorialdayparade.org — and with good reason.
The 86th annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade has become widely accepted as one of the largest of its kind in the United States, and this year event officers said the parade would focus exclusively on those who served 50 years ago in Vietnam.
The parade, which kicks off Monday at 2 p.m., will move west along Northern Boulevard from Jayson Avenue in Great Neck, L.I., to Alameda Avenue in Douglaston, finishing up at St. Anastasia’s School. The route may be long, but it needs to be in order to accommodate the massive roster of marching bands, elected officials, civic organizations and various military groups.
The 77th Sustainment Brigade, under the command of Col. Joyce Junior, will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, celebrating the group’s return from Iraq. Honorary grand marshals will also include Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Borough President Helen Marshall.
More than 80,000 will march in the parade, making it one of the largest in the country, according to parade Chairman James Rodgers. He has more than a decade under his belt when it comes to helping organize the event and said he was proud of its rave reputation.
The festivities will also include a 10 a.m. pre-parade inter-faith memorial service at the Community Church of Little Neck in honor of veterans. The service has historically been a keystone moment of the parade as it allows members to pay tribute to those who fought for freedom, Rodgers said.
A wreath-laying ceremony will follow the service at the veterans monument and flagpole at Alameda Avenue and Northern Boulevard.
An art and essay contest will take place at 7 p.m. at St. Anastasia’s Father Smith Hall, at Alameda Avenue and 245th Street this Friday for children from kindergarten through ninth-grade. Grand prize winners will receive a $500 check and other contest winners will be recognized for their entries and invited to march in the parade under a special banner, Rodgers said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.