2018-05-30 / Front Page

Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Makes History



(From l.): Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein, Council Members Barry S. Grodenchik and Paul Vallone, Public Advocate Letitia James 
Photos Dan Miller/ DMD Images &Victoria Canore (From l.): Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein, Council Members Barry S. Grodenchik and Paul Vallone, Public Advocate Letitia James Photos Dan Miller/ DMD Images &Victoria Canore This year, the 91st annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade observes the 65th anniversary of the Korean War cease-fire; remembers 1968, the bloodiest year of the Vietnam War, and features the US Navy.

Living by its credo of honoring the fallen, a Navy pilot killed in 1965 whose remains were discovered last year will be represented by his daughter and family as posthumous parade marshal. Deborah Crosby will wear the marshal’s sash for her father, Lieutenant Commander Frederick P. Crosby, whose remains were only recovered and returned to the US in 2017.

Parade organizers had planned to honor the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard for their rescue work after Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Irma in Puerto Rico. The focus changed on March 15, when four members of the Westhampton-based unit died in a helicopter crash in Iraq that killed seven guardsmen.

The families of Long Islanders Staff Sgt. Dashan Briggs, Master Sgt. Christopher Raguso, Capt. Andreas O’Keeffe, and fallen Long Island City resident Capt. Christopher Zanetis will receive honorary parade marshal sashes and other recognition from the officer who will represent the wing as parade marshal. “We were shocked when the reason for honoring the wing changed,” said parade co-Chair Douglas Montgomery. “We know this will be a small comfort, but we had to do something,” he said.

Marine Corps Brigadier Gen. William H. Seely III will represent the Navy as grand marshal Public Advocate Tish James and Congresswoman Grace Meng with Governor Adnrew Cuomo. Public Advocate Tish James and Congresswoman Grace Meng with Governor Adnrew Cuomo. and swear in a group of future sailors. NYC Council Member Paul A. Vallone is Man of the Year; ROTC advocate Andrea Licari-LaGrassa, PhD, of Douglaston is Woman of the Year and local resident Linda Lee received the Community Service Award for her work as Executive Director of Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York.

Baysider Ted Han, a Vietnam-era Lieutenant J.G. in the Korean Navy will also be a parade marshal. He will be accompanied by groups representing Korean veterans of Vietnam and other wars. “It’s time to recognize the contributions of all Americans who are veterans, not just those born here,” said parade spokesperson Victor Mimoni, noting that Seely was born in Saigon. “The freedom won at so high a cost is what makes America great, and Queens is the most diverse place on earth.”

A party of French WWII veterans will also participate, along with a French Consular official who will ceremonially present a Silver Star medal and other WWI artifacts belonging to deceased Douglaston resident Eugene Brady to the historian of his old unit, “The Fighting 69th” Infantry. Brady was a friend of the Regimental chaplain, Father Duffy, whose statue overlooks Times Square.

The parade, the largest of its kind in the nation, promises to be the most impressive ever—with 15 bands, dozens of emergency, military and antique vehicles, and more than 150 units from all over the country and the world scheduled to participate.

For the first time, organizers plan to live-stream the entire parade on their website, www.LNDmemorialday.org.

“We want the families of our marchers to be able to watch from home if they can’t make it,” Mimoni said.

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