2016-02-24 / Front Page

Honorees For 89th Memorial Day Parade Announced

The honorees have been announced for the 89th Annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade: three-star retired United States Marine Corps (USMC) Lieutenant General Richard P. Mills will be Grand Marshal; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz as Woman of the Year; FDNY Deputy Commissioner Robert F. Sweeny as Man of the Year; Little Neck businessman and patriot Mohsen Zandieh will be honored with the Community Service Award.

The largest hometown parade in the nation steps off at 2 pm on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.

General Mills, who is from Long Island and graduated from Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, rose from command of a rifle platoon to head all NATO forces in Afghanistan. He also led one of the most storied units in American history, the First Marine Division.

This year’s Little Neck-Douglaston (LND) Memorial Day Parade marks the 100th anniversary of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), the high school- and college-based program that inspires and commissions 30 percent of the officers who serve in the Armed Forces.

The ongoing remembrance of the Vietnam War also marks the 50th anniversary of US bombing raids extending to all of North Vietnam, with increased losses leading to the capture of a majority of the 1,350 Americans taken as prisoners of war – and a large number of the 1,626 Americans still missing.

For 382,010 men, 1966 was the year they were drafted into the military. In what is becoming a new parade tradition, a group of “future soldiers” who volunteered at recruiting stations all over Queens will ceremonially take the enlistment oath during the parade.
Two helicopter flyovers are expected: first by the NYPD, followed shortly thereafter by US Marine Corps Reserve helicopters.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Speaker of the City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito, US Senator Chuck Schumer, candidates for elective office and numerous federal, state and local elected officials are expected.
More than 150 groups, including active military, US and Korean veterans, horseback and motorcycle riders, antique and military vehicles, service organizations, emergency services, schools, churches and other organizations march. Groups from all over the United States regularly come to march in the parade.

The day’s public schedule begins with a 10:00 am inter-faith service at Zion Episcopal Church in Douglaston, where the names of those in our area who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan will be read aloud.

Immediately following, at 11 am, there will be a wreath-laying at Memorial Park in the St. Anastasia’s Church yard (at the eastern juncture of Northern Blvd. and Alameda Ave.) A USMC Honor Guard from the 6th Communications Battalion (MFR), will fire the ceremonial volleys.

The parade also sponsors an Art & Essay Contest each year for local school children. Contestants and winners can march with their own group. Winning entries are posted in the local library. Posters are later sent to deployed troops as a morale booster. (Information will be provided in a timely manner.)

This year, parade organizers are providing transportation for greater numbers of elderly and disabled veterans to the parade, as well as live-streaming the parade into select senior citizen residences in Queens for those who can’t travel to celebrate with them.
Parade facts:

The LND Parade marching route is well over one mile – longer than Chicago or Washington, DC.

Every successful candidate for Mayor or Governor since 1989 has marched in the parade.
Thousands of hot dogs and water bottles are given away free during and after the parade each year.

The parade is organized and conducted entirely by local residents who volunteer their time.
The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Association is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization. All Parade Association officers and committee members are unpaid volunteers.

The Parade was founded in 1927 by American Legion Post 103, in Douglaston. Charles McBride and Douglas Montgomery, are the co-chairs.

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