By Tom Momberg
Queens celebrated Memorial Day weekend with 11 parades, more than any other borough in the city.
In fact, borough residents did more than celebrate, they commemorated, honored and paid tribute to the many veterans who live in Queens’ diverse neighborhoods with a number of remembrance ceremonies and vigils, in addition to those parades.
“We have the most veterans that live in this borough, the most diverse. We know how to celebrate our veterans, we know how to mourn the loss of those that died and we do that every year,” Borough President Melinda Katz said during a veterans ceremony in Whitestone Monday. “We are by far the most patriotic in our celebration, and we are here today, not only to remember those that we have lost, but to teach our children what it is to pay respect and honor our armed forces.”
Katz said many veterans are under-recognized and often taken for granted. But she touted Queens as a place where that does not happen, noting that holidays are not needed to remember those that served, when so many of them live in the borough’s communities. Social services are available to ex-military men and women and their families at Queens Borough Hall. Visit queen
As many people in the city celebrated the holiday weekend with backyard barbecues and parties, Queens marked Memorial Day by decorating the graves of fallen soldiers and thanking its resident veterans for their service.
The roots of the patriotic holiday, originally called Decoration Day, can be traced back to the years following the American Civil War, when former Union commanders designated the day for strewing flowers on the tombstones of those that died in battle.
New York was even the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873.
Now, over 140 years later, Queens is home to what is reputedly the largest Memorial Day parade in the country, in Little Neck and Douglaston, as well as another large one in College Point.
The College Point Citizens for Memorial Day, made up of military veterans and members of Northeast Queens communities, successfully organized another Memorial Day Parade down College Point Boulevard Sunday.
Led by veteran and parade Grand Marshal Louis DiAgostino, the College Point procession had tremendous military, ROTC and veteran participation. Francis Lewis High School students, St. Fidelis School, and Girl Scout and Brownie Troop 4264 also played a major part in the day’s events.