Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and Acting Borough President Sharon Lee together will host a virtual Memorial Day observance ceremony on Thursday, livestreamed from Borough Hall. Queens is the borough with the highest population of veterans in New York City.
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, this will be an online-only event, and everyone is encouraged to join from the safety of their own homes by visiting queensbp.org starting at 11 a.m. on May 21.
“Our world is a very different place today with our norms turned upside down during this pandemic. But it is still so important to acknowledge the heroes that have kept us safe and protected our freedoms,” Katz said. “As we approach this Memorial Day weekend, I want to applaud all those that served and sacrificed in our Armed Forces. With a full heart, and on behalf of all those within the Queens district attorney’s office, thank you.”
The ceremony, under social distancing measures, will be livestreamed from the Veterans Memorial Garden at Queens Borough Hall with the FDNY Ceremonial Unit presenting the nation’s colors and Flotilla Staff Officer Barbara Wighton of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Band performing “Taps” on a bugle in memory of the fallen. Rabbi Eli Blokh of the Chabad of Rego Park will deliver the invocation, while Pastor Courtney Brown of Upper Room International Ministries in Far Rockaway will deliver the benediction.
“Queens is eternally grateful to the women and men of the Armed Forces who served and perished in defense of our lives and our freedoms,” Lee said. “Although the extraordinary nature of these times has canceled the slate of Memorial Day events across Queens, not even a pandemic will stop us from this annual, united observance in honor of those, and their families, who made the ultimate sacrifice. You are not forgotten.”
The ceremony will also feature a live wreath-laying by Vietnam Veterans of America President John Rowan, representing Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32, at the Queens Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Elmhurst Park. This will be the first Memorial Day since its opening in December 2019, when it became the first-of-its-kind, borough-wide memorial in Queens honoring the 371 service members from the borough who during the Vietnam War or are classified as “missing in action.”
The$2.8 million design and construction of the memorial was fully funded by former borough president and now District Attorney Katz.
In the days preceding the May 21 ceremony, Lee and Katz will lay wreaths across the borough with various Queens Organizations at the following locations: Broad Channel Park; Coleman Square in Howard Beach; Doughboy Park in Woodside; the flagpole at Bell Boulevard and 53rd Avenue in Bayside; The Glendale Veterans Triangle; Maspeth Memorial Square; Myrtle Avenue Clemens Triangle in Ridgewood; Poppenhusen Triangle in College Point; Remsen Family Cemetery in Forest Hills; Veterans’ Circle in Rockaway Park; Veterans Memorial Triangle in Laurelton; Veterans Monument and Flagpole in Little Neck; Veteran’s Square in Rosedale; and the Whitestone Veterans Memorial.