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File photo/RIDGEWOOD TIMES
File photo/RIDGEWOOD TIMES
The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 32 marching in the 2017 Queens Veterans Day Parade

BY EMMA MILLER

Members of the Armed Forces will be celebrated during the Queens Veterans Day Parade scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 4, at noon in Middle Village.

The parade will start at the corner of 80th Street and Metropolitan Avenue, and proceed down the avenue to Christ the King High School, where a ceremony honoring vets and veteran organizations will take place.

All veterans and active military are invited to march in the parade. The participating organizations include the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America and AMVETS. Local Boy and Girl Scout troops along with baton and flag twirlers and marching bands are also scheduled to participate.

The grand marshal of the parade this year is Sergeant Gerard M. Opitz who was part of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Opitz is from Glendale.

During his time in the army, he was part of the 389th Bombardment Group that was active from Dec. 24, 1942, to Sept. 13, 1945. The group ran raids in Crete, Sicily, Italy, Austria and Romania early in the war and was later stationed in England to bomb airfields in France and the Netherlands.

In addition to honoring Opitz, the Queens Veterans Day Parade Committee will also present its Humanitarian Award to Maspeth’s Frank Kowalinski Post No. 4, also known as the Polish Legion of American Veterans Post, for their service to veterans in Queens.

The organization is named for Frank Kowalinski, a man from Maspeth who was the first Polish-American soldier to die in World War I.

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