Forest Hills marks Memorial Day with parade

By Sarina Trangle

Dozens crowded along Metropolitan Avenue to watch the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade Sunday.

One woman poked her head out of a second-story apartment window and clapped as youth bands walked by. A Dunkin’ Donuts employee stepped out of the coffee shop to capture a bagpipe group performing “America the Beautiful” on his smartphone. And then there were the traditional spectators, like Ed and Lani Taveras, who set up lawn chairs near 72nd Road and Metropolitan Avenue.

Lani Taveras said the couple had enjoyed watching the parade evolve over the past decade, especially after their 12-year-old son joined the procession with the Cub and Boy Scouts about six years ago.

“It’s small and cozy,” she said. “It makes it intimate.”

Community Board 6 Chair Joseph Hennessy, Mgsr. John McGuirl, from Our Lady of Mercy Church, and Terrance Holliday, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s affairs, served as the grand marshals.

They led the parade from Ascan and Metropolitan avenues west toward Trotting Course Lane and Remsen Cemetery, where some of Queens’ earliest settlers and veterans are buried.

Several Girl, Boy and Cub Scout troops, a team from PS 101 with a banner celebrating the Forest Hills Gardens centennial, Forest Hills Little League players, a Christ the King Regional High School band, vintage cars and representatives from the Queens Historical Society and Richmond Hill Historical Society — dressed in historic, hoop-skirt dresses — marched behind them.

At the cemetery, Tom Long, commander of the American Legion Post 1424, led a commemorative ceremony. Prayers, speeches and songs from the grand marshals and elected officials followed.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said she was proud to have close to a dozen parades on her schedule this weekend.

“We have more Memorial Day parades than any other city in New York,” Katz said, citing preliminary research. “We do more than have barbecues and go to the park.”

Paul Heinz shared her enthusiasm.

Heinz, sporting dozens of military regalia and pins he acquired from his uncle, father and a friend who served in the armed forces, said he endeavored to attend as many Memorial Day parades as possible every year.

“It’s a crowd here, coming to honor the veterans,” he said while waving a flag with the phrase, “All gave some; some gave all,” printed beside an American eagle.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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