Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
Flags adorn the parade route for the Rockaway Memorial Day parade.This Memorial Day weekend, instead of focusing on barbeques and pool parties, veterans and residents of Broad Channel and Rockaway marched through the streets to remember the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“Today is important to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and to not forget what freedom costs,” said Broad Channel’s Joe Wagner, a Vietnam veteran. “Freedom, as they say, is not free.”
The Broad Channel parade was held on Sunday, May 28, kicked off with a wreathlaying ceremony and moment of silence at the 17th Road Park flag pole and then continued down Cross Bay Boulevard for an additional ceremony with closing remarks at the George Riekers Veterans Memorial Park.
“We had an extraordinary turnout for Broad Channel. It’s nice to see a lot of children involved in the parade,” said Dan Mundy Jr., President of the Broad Channel Civic Association. “It’s important that we continue to remember our heroes and not let our younger generations forget their sacrifices.”
Left to right: Little Leaguers Paddy Palisi, Lucas Kirk, and Daniel Arena marched with their teams in the Broad Channel Memorial Day parade.The day of observance began with special services held at Christ Presbyterian by the Sea Church and St. Virgilius. After Mass, the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department continued their annual tradition of reading aloud the names of members from the fire department and veterans who have died. A fire bell was rung for each individual.
As the parade participants marched down Cross Bay Boulevard, residents waving American flags, lined the streets to honor and pay tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives.
Left to right: Councilman Eric Ulrich with his daughter Lily; Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato; BCAC President Mike Kelly, and BCVFD Chief Joseph “Skippy” Nocerino at the Broad Channel parade. Photo by Angelica Katz“I come down every year to honor the men and women that served, especially here in Broad Channel,” said Margaret Wagner, Broad Channel resident. “With everything that’s going on in the world today, it’s important to not only remember the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for us, but to remember those who are currently serving now.”
Participating in the parade were members of the VFW Post 260 and American Legion Post 1404, Broad Channel Athletic Club, and the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department as well as veterans from the St. Albans Hospital, auxiliary members, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and Councilman Eric Ulrich.
Dozens of members from the Broad Channel Athletic Club participated in the parade. Photo by Angelica Katz“This parade is important because it not only honors those who have served but it’s also teaches each generation to not forget about those men and women,” said Pheffer Amato.
It was a rainy Memorial Day in Rockaway on May 27, which began with a Mass in honor of the community’s fallen heroes at St. Francis de Sales Church.
Despite the weather, families of veterans, and veterans themselves united as one at the church to pay their respects to those who perished in service to their country
Following the memorial Mass, the American Legion Daniel M. O’Connell Post No. 272 gathered around the Four Chaplains monument, and the crowd listened as 33 names of Rockaway’s veterans were read off one by one.
Students from St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy held signs representing each soldier’s name and date of service to our country.
Members of the Xaverian High School Pipe and Drums took part in the Rockaway Parade. Photo by Vanessa VasquezAfter a moment of silence marchers were off to the Memorial Circle.
Memorial Circle, established back in 1947 by the Belle Harbor Garden Club, holds a special place in the hearts of the Rockaway community. Originally, the plaques placed in the circle were in honor of those soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. Since then, two other names have been added, one from the Vietnam War and one from the war in Iraq.
Councilman Eric Ulrich’s staff, led by Robby Schwach, has been making a huge effort to tell the stories of the fallen heroes in Memorial Circle. This was chronicled in the two-part series “Gone But Not Forgotten,” in the May 19 and May 26 issues of The Wave.
Noelle Mundy proudly waves her flag at the Broad Channel Memorial Day parade. Photo by Angelica Katz“The Councilman and his staff deserve a great deal of credit for their work on compiling the stories of those in Memorial Circle,” said Wave reader Kevin Connolly. “I was very happy to see Rockaway’s newspaper publish the stories as well.”
The parade then continued down Rockaway Beach Boulevard, to the Jewish War Veterans Memorial Circle and ended with a barbeque at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Beach 90th Street.
Members of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps decorate the parade with their uniforms and fire truck. Photo by Angelica Katz Photo by Vanessa Vasquez The Ancient Order Of Hibernians Division 21 were on hand for the Rockaway Memorial Day parade. At every Rockaway Memorial Day parade, children show their pride for their country. Photo By Vanessa Vasquez