Forest Hills Parade returns

People filled the street along Metropolitan Avenue on Sunday for the annual Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade. This year’s event was the community’s first in two years, due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Veterans, community groups, elected officials, and local residents gathered to honor and remember the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coast guard who died in service to their country.

Parade-goers with the Richmond Hill Historical Society get dressed up for the annual Memorial Day Parade in Forest HIlls

“The invasion of Ukraine by a tyrant is a stark reminder of why we need a strong national defense,” Michael Arcati, commander of American Legion Continental Post No. 1424 in Forest Hills, said. “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and you see the eternal vigilance here today as the veterans of this American Legion, those of us still on active duty, and the Naval Sea Cadets who may one day raise their right hand and take the oath to defend this country.”

In an opening ceremony, The Legion Post recognized this year’s Grand Marshals, Patrick Conley, a U.S. army veteran who served from 1978 to 1981, and Timothy Ducey, a Glendale resident and community advocate who owns Acey Ducey’s and Tap House pubs in Forest Hills.

Also celebrated at the ceremony were NYPD Sergeant Christopher Fulgieri with the 2022 Forest Hills American Legion Law & Order Award, retired Engine 235 firefighter Lois Mungay with the 2022 Forest Hills American Legion First Responder Award, and Louie Suljovic, an Army veteran and hero who saved an elderly woman from a knife attack outside Louie’s Pizzeria and Restaurant on Baxter Ave. in Elmhurst.

Several local elected officials came out to show their support, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, New York State

Senator Joseph Addabbo, NYS Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, and Councilwoman Lynn Schulman.

Many of them took the time to remind the crowd the true meaning of the holiday.

“Memorial Day is not about barbecues, hamburgers, or beaches. It’s a dedicated day for honoring our military personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice to afford us the freedoms we take for granted every day,” said Schulman, whose great aunt served in the Women’s Army Corps., uncle fought in WWII, and father was a soldier in the Korean War. “We also owe the Gold Star families our gratitude for their sacrifice, as it is never easy losing a loved one, and I hope they know their loss will never be forgotten.”

Rudy Markard, a Queens resident who served as a sailor in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966, has taken part in Memorial Day parades for several years.
He takes pride in showing off his rebuilt military Jeep and letting children interact with the vehicle.

“It takes me back 50 years when I had little kids, so it’s a connection with life. It’s just wonderful,” Markard said.

Long Island Jewish Forest Hills join in the Memorial Day Parade 2022

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

The Richmond Hill Historical Society at the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade 2022

The All-City High School Marching Band

Forest Hills-Rego Park CERT

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Members of the community wave their flags and watch as the parade marches by.

Rudy Markard and a young resident share a bonding moment at the end of the parade.
(Photos By Jessica Meditz)

Ridgewood/Glendale honors Veterans on Memorial Day

Residents of Ridgewood, Glendale, and neighboring communities showed up for the long awaited 84th annual Ridgewood/Glendale Memorial Day Parade on Monday.
Veterans, active military personnel, community groups, elected officials, and locals alike gathered to honor and remember the men and women who died in service to their country.

“Today, we remember those that gave their lives in service to this country. This is not the day to be barbecuing and going to sales, you can do that any time,” Russell Goeller, parade chairman and committee member, said.
“This is the day where everyone who had a loved one has been touched by loss in any of these great wars in places some of us haven’t even heard of ,” he continued. “We have to remember them.”

He honored the men in Marine Corps uniforms who led the parade, thanking them, and encouraging each individual in attendance to do the same.
The group also celebrated this year’s Grand Marshal, Paul J. Schottenhamel, who served in the Vietnam War, and is a member of the Joseph B. Garity Post No. 562, American Legion.

Assembly Candidate Brent O’Leary at the Glendale/Ridgewood Memorial Day Parade

Several local elected officials shared words of support and gratitude, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Glenda Garcia, deputy commissioner at the NYC Department of Veterans Services, NY State Senator Joseph Addabbo, and City Councilman Robert Holden. State Assembly hopeful, Brent O’Leary, also made an appearance at the parade.

“Memorial Day is one of the most important days in American culture, as we celebrate the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice to enjoy the freedoms that our country gives,” O’Leary said. “My father was in the Navy in World War II, and thankfully he came home. But I know every day that even if you look at what’s happening in the Ukraine, if it wasn’t without these people who are willing to sacrifice, we would not have the country that we are in.”

Glendale Kiwanis marched in the annual Memorial Day Parade.

Ridgewood Property Owners Association at the parade.

US Marines marching in the parade.
(Photos by Jessica Meditz)

Flushing hosts inaugural Memorial Day observance

By Juan Arturo Trillo

news@queensledger.com

At Kissena Park in Flushing, a group of veterans, families, community leaders, and elected officials joined together on Friday afternoon to honor those whose lives were taken in the line of service. The inaugural Flushing Memorial Day Observance was hosted by City Councilwoman Sandra Ung and co-sponsored by the Kissena Park Civic Association, Holly Civic Association, Fujian Association, and the Youth Orchestra, which provided live music for the ceremony.

The service commenced with the presentation of the national colors, and followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, Star Spangled Banner, and speeches from Flushing’s leaders and politicians. Speakers included Councilwoman Ung, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, and others.

Photo: Emil Cohen

“I know that Memorial Day weekend is often about backyard barbecues and spending time with friends and family,” Ung said. “So, I want to thank everyone who joined us to take time to start the weekend by honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.”

U.S. Rep. Meng added, “As our world becomes full of distractions, it is so important that we still come together to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Afterwards, everyone placed a flower at the foot of the Korean War Memorial.

Thomas Oliva, candidate for Queens Civil Court, asks people to “have a moment of silence, a moment of remembrance as to why and what we’re really celebrating on this three-day weekend.” Three of Oliva’s uncles served in the Korean War.

Johnny Kelly, president of the Kissena Park Civic Association, said that Ung “helped bring our community together and have a moment of silent reflection for the souls of those people who died for us.”

He added that “the real question is—they gave their lives for us—what are we doing for our country?” Kelly said, “if we want this country to move forward, we have to fight, like these people fought. We have to fight for our democracy.”

The observance was attended by the Korean Vietnam War Association of New York, Korean War Veterans Association of Greater New York, and the Queensboro Hill Post of the VFW. Cadets from the Francis Lewis High School JROTC led the Presentation of Colors.

Assemblywoman Rozic said she hopes the inaugural event is the start of a newfound tradition in Flushing.

“As someone who has seen what this community has gone through the last couple of years, it is heartening to see everyone from all walks of life coming together for this Memorial Day in what will hopefully be a tradition for many years to come,” Rozic said.

Jamaica Estates honors vets for Memorial Day

Residents of Jamaica Estates joined elected officials and community members to honor the neighborhood’s fallen soldiers with a somber Memorial Day ceremony this past weekend.

The ceremony featured City Councilman James Gennaro, New York State Assemblyman David Weprin, along with Jamaica Estates Association and Community Board 8 chair Martha Taylor, a trumpeter, a saxophonist, Queens College’s Color Guard, the Eagle Scouts Troop 96 and the youth from the NYPD’s Law Enforcement Explorers.

“This is about the local community coming together to remember those that came before us and gave the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could be brave, and that our children and grandchildren could be brave and enjoy the life that we have,” Weprin said.

Weprin’s father, Saul, served in the United States Coast Guard in 1945 during WWII, before becoming the Democratic leader of the 24th Assembly District and later the speaker of the New York State Assembly.

Weprin praised the current Democratic district leader for the 24th Assembly District, Martha Taylor, with restarting the in-person Memorial Day ceremonies at Jamaica Estates.

“So many local boys fought in World War II,” Weprin said, standing in front of the memorial plaque, with the names of 10 men from Jamaica Estates who died in the line of service during World War II.

The ten names on the memorial plaque are John Adikes Jr., Sigmund Gillmore, Kenneth S. Kinnes, John B. Lovely, Paul W. Olson, Norman H. Puff, Peter P. Renzo, Joseph A. Scheibel, Donald J. Schneider and Charles J. Yodice.

Seymour Schwartz, a World War II veteran and Briarwood resident, recalled what it was like to serve in the Army and then on loan to the Navy.

“You have to remember that those of us who are still alive were witnesses to a lot of death and a lot of pain,” Schwartz said. “So I think of the bodies floating in the Pacific on the beach, with the blood flowing out. You think of the guys lying dead with their intestines exposed and I think of burying them, including buddies. Like one who was shot by a sniper right next to me.

Schwartz continued, “So these are things you never tell anybody. And for most veterans, you’d come home and you don’t want to talk about these things. You want to get a job and raise a family. And you don’t even think about being a veteran back then. But as you get older it has a lot more meaning and you do a lot more thinking.”

Schwartz was assigned to the Joint Command, Commander in Chief of the Pacific, and the 5th Amphibious Force. Upon being discharged and arriving back home in March 1946, he devoted his life to serving his neighborhood of Briarwood, later becoming the President of the Briarwood Community Association for over two decades.

Andrew DeNicola, a saxophonist and a Master’s student at Queens College, played the saxophone during the service while Sean Miller, a trumpeter and a sophomore at St. John’s University played taps to close out the Memorial Day ceremony.

Memorial Day Parade honors Gold Star Families

John Gaidis, a lifelong Maspeth resident and veteran, said he rarely misses a Memorial Day parade in his hometown.

The 85-year-old veteran, who served in Korea and later in Vietnam as part of a submarine unit, situated himself in his own front row seat along Grand Avenue with his dog Tio.

“All the men and women who came before me and gave their lives so I could live so beautifully, means a lot to me,” Gaidis said, waving an American flag.

He jokes that he’s never left the town, and points across the street to the Mount Olivet Cemetery.

“I’ve been here for only 85 years, and when I die I’ll live in there,” he says, with nearby parade floats passing through the heart of Maspeth.

This year’s Memorial Day ceremonies in Maspeth kicked off with an introduction of this year’s Grand Marshals, Maspeth activist Peter Wolyneic, and Korean War veteran Costantino Carbone Jr.

The Grand Marshals of the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade, Peter Wolyneic, and Constantino Carbone Jr., prepare to kick off the annual parade.

The national anthem was performed by Maria Flaim of the St. Stanislaus & Transfiguration Music Ministry, with an invocation following by Sgt. Jack Hallahan, 69th Regt. Chaplain.

Liz and Bill Huisman performed “Light of a Gold Star” as an introduction to the ceremony’s invited guests.

John Gaidis, 85, takes a front row seat to his hometown Memorial Day parade, while greeting Councilmember Robert Holden.

Essay award winners from St. Stanislaus and P.S. 58 were recognized for their writing that covered topics such as “What is a Gold Star Family?;” “What is the history of the Gold Star Family?;” “What is being done to support the Gold Star Families?;” and “What would you do to recognize Gold Star Families?”

Essay award winners included fifth graders Victor Luna (First place, P.S. 58), Daniel Arabov (Second place, P.S. 58), Kyle Caspe (Third place, P.S. 58); sixth graders Julia Drwecka (First place, St. Stans), Eva Gonzalez (Second place, P.S. 58), Kelly Galarza (Third place, St. Stans); and seventh grader Niall Guerrero (First place, St. Stans).

The Francis Lewis High School R.O.T.C. put on a precision demonstration before the presentation of Gold Star Families, or the immediate family of a fallen service member who died while serving.

This year’s honored Gold Star Families included the immediate relatives of Kenneth Johnson (K.I.A. Vietnam), John Desio (K.I.A. WWII), and Robert Rodriguez (K.I.A. Iraqi Freedom).

Parade floats honoring the families of the fallen.

This year’s Walk of Honor inductees included Mary Ann Walter, Joseph Magnus, Salvatore Vitale, James Deslo, Stanley Wdowiak, Jerry Drake, John Browne, John Kempisty, Donald Steinmaker, Deacon Arthur Griffin, Anthony Mickalauskas and Anne Holden. People enshrined in the Walk of Honor are people who have made the community a better place to live in.

Elected officials including State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Brian Barnwell joined the afternoon parade and following memorial service.

Brent O’Leary, a candidate for the 37th State Assembly district, said the day celebrates the principles of our country, along with its achievements and the community’s diversity.

“We strive to make sure that this is always the country of the American dream,” O’Leary said. “Maspeth is a working class community from all different backgrounds. I think they’ve always stood together and supported the community.”

Candlelight vigil honors community vets

In preparation for Memorial Day and the festivities to come, the United Veterans & Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth held a candlelight vigil to honor U.S. veterans and their loved ones.

Many community members, including veterans, gathered in Maspeth Memorial Park on Monday for an evening of patriotic spirit, entertainment, and remembrance.

The St. Stan’s Players performed “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Rev. Joseph Wilson of St. Stanislaus Kostka recited the invocation, thanking members of the armed forces, police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, and other emergency service personnel for saving lives and defending the rights of citizens.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, a rendition “America the Beautiful,” sung by Kristinka, and some words of gratitude from the organization’s president, Maryanna Zero, a sentimental poem was recited by the ceremony’s Young Poet Laureate, James White.

White is a freshman at Fordham University in the Bronx, and serves as a lector at Transfiguration Church. He recited “Soldier,” a poem written by retired U.S. Army Major Ed Coet.

“That I didn’t honor him sooner, I will always regret; and I pledged that day to never again forget,” he recited. “I’m proud that my dad was a patriotic warrior; I’m honored to be the son of an American soldier.”

Queens residents Johnny Bee and Rosalia Gattuso performed a musical duet of Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s “The Prayer,” and Gattuso sang “Ave Maria” after the ceremonial lighting of the candles.

The program was also joined by the St. Stan’s Players, who sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Candles for World War I were carried by the American Legion Auxiliary, World War II by Ridgewood Moose Lodge No. 1642 – Chapter 133, Korean War by Polish Legion of American Veterans Chapter 4 of the Kowalinski Post – Ladies Auxiliary, Vietnam War by Vietnam Veterans of America Queens Chapter 32 – The Honor Guard, and Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the American Victims of Terrorism by Francis Cardinal Spellman Council, Knights of Columbus No. 6014 Ladies Auxiliary.

Members of the United Veterans & Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth displayed a banner.

Maspeth resident Carole Stines led the event, and also recited a revised version of “My Son,” a Frank Patterson song.

“I reworked some of the lyrics to suit the occasion,” she said. “In keeping with this year’s Memorial Day Parade theme, ‘Maspeth Honors Gold Star Families,’ I recited this poem. This homage is also relevant to all of those who lost a loved one in these very difficult times.”

She was also joined by Hyunjeong Lee on keyboard and Andrew Cho on violin.

During her reading and the musical performance, the family of the late Corporal Robert Rodriguez, who died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, stood in front of the crowd, holding up his photo.

Rodriguez, who was a Maspeth resident, had his name added to the monument in Maspeth Memorial Park 12 years ago.

Maspeth’s Memorial Day Parade will kick off at 1 p.m. at Grand Avenue and 69th Street, with festivities at 11 a.m. at Queens Vietnam Memorial Elmhurst Park, 12 p.m. at the WWI Monument at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue, and followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m.

2022 Maspeth Memorial Day Parade theme and route

Maspeth Memorial Day Parade: Sunday May 29th, 2022 @ 1PM
Parade Begins at Grand Avenue & 69th Street
Memorial Services immediately following the parade at Maspeth Memorial Square

Parade Route  –  Please be aware that, due to ongoing construction, the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade will begin and end at Grand Avenue & 69th Street.
The theme of the 2022 Maspeth Memorial Day Parade is “Maspeth Honors Our Gold Star Families”. Gold Star Families are the immediate family members of a fallen service member who died in combat. These three families will be recognized.

Gold Star Family of Marine Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez
Marine Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez, of Queens, NY, died at age 21 serving our country. He was assigned to 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center; killed in action near the Euphrates River northwest of Nasiriyah, Iraq. As the baby in a family of five children, Rodriguez looked up to his brothers and sisters and wanted to make them proud. His family valued education, but he found school boring, and so after he received his high school diploma, Rodriguez joined the marines at age 17. He became a member of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. He was sent to Kuwait in January as a corporal. “He loved the Marines,” said his sister Hyda Hernandez-Lopez. “We were all so very proud of him. He was our hero.” Rodriguez was killed in March 2003, when the tank he was in plunged off a bridge and into the Euphrates River.

Gold Star Family of John Cono Desio
John Cono Desio (they called him Johnny) was one of seven children of Joseph and Rose Desio. He was the oldest son born in 1918. In the 1930’s his family moved from Brooklyn to Maspeth. Prior to his being drafted into the US Army he was employed as a manager at the Lombardy Hotel in NYC. At the time the Hotel attracted many celebrity guests. His favorite was an actor named Bruce Cabot. Johnny would regale his family with his celebrity encounters. He was also an avid NY Yankee fan and regularly took his youngest brother Joe to Yankee Stadium. In 1942 he was drafted into the US Army. Ultimately, he served as a Sergeant and tank commander. He landed in Normandy France in the summer of ’44. With his tank unit he headed west. He saw combat all the way through Rohrbach, France and back east through the French countryside. After fierce fighting to capture the small French town of St. Jean Roblach (only a few miles from Germany) he was killed on a rainy and cold Thanksgiving Day on November 23, 1944. The series of battles he endured were a prelude to the Battle of the Bulge. He was interred temporarily in Limey, France and when hostilities ceased, he was returned to rest in the family plot in St. John’s Cemetery, Queens. He never married and had no children, but he has long been remembered by his extended family for his courage, bravery and affability.

Gold Star Family of Kenneth Johnson, Sp‐4 US Army KIA
Kenneth Johnson was raised in Middle Village Queens living with his Uncle Rudolph Kaprolat [Uncle Rudy] he attended PS 87 Grammar school and Grover Cleveland High School. Kenneth’s aspiration was to join the NYC Police department, Kenneth was drafted into the US Army on 16 December 1965, after training in the States he began his tour in Vietnam on Dec.17, 1966 attached to Co‐B, 2ND battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Div. On Feb. 22, 1967 Operation Junction City began in South Vietnam in the province of Tay Ninh near the border of Cambodia, it was one of the largest air‐mobile assaults ever, 240 helicopters swept over Tay Ninh province. The goal of Junction City was to destroy Vietcong bases and the VC military headquarters located north of Saigon, some 30,000 U.S. Troops plus 5,000 South Vietnamese Army personnel [ARVN] participated. After 72 days of battle American forces succeeded in capturing large caches of equipment and weapons, killing 2,800 VC and NVA soldiers, 282 American soldiers were killed in action. March 25, 1967 while on patrol during Operation Junction City riding atop a tank in the jungles of South Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province the tank ran over an enemy land mine killing SP‐4 Kenneth Johnson, Ken’s birthday was five days before his death he was 22-years-old.

Two Grand Marshals named for the 2022 Maspeth Memorial Day Parade

Maspeth Memorial Day Parade: Sunday May 29th, 2022 @ 1PM
Parade Begins at Grand Avenue & 69th Street
Memorial Services immediately following the parade at Maspeth Memorial Square

Cosantino Carbone, Jr.

Costantino, nicknamed J.R., was born on July 16,1932 on North 7th Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn. He attended PS 17 and later transferred to PS 73 before graduating from Newtown High School. J.R. pushed up his draft to join the Korean War.

Patriotism ran bold in the Car- bone household with five of his brothers serving in the Army. He volunteered for Jump School and
joined the 101st Airborne Division. As a young Private Rifleman he was transported to North Korea to join the 3rd Infantry Division located on the front line. At 5’ 4” he volunteered to carry the Browning Automatic Weapon, a big gun for little guy as he put it. His outfit was engaged in combat from Day One.

The North Koreans would charge their positions and fight at night. During the day they tried in vain to rest, sustaining constant bombardment. As he recalled, his buddies thought they would never return home. Then, on July 27, 1953, a cease fire was announced, however, his unit never left the front line.

The good ship Fort Mason carried him home and he mustered out of the Army at Fort Kilmer, N.J. Tech. Sgt. Carbone saw much action on the front line and received the following awards and decorations:

  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star
  • Korean Defense Service Medal Combat Infantryman Badge United Nations Service Medal Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

On a personal note, he met his Maspeth born and raised Theresa at the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade in 1950. Theresa attended St. Stan’s grammar school. The Carbone’s were married at St. Stan’s Church in April 1956. They became the proud parents of three children: Vicky, Frank and Connie. Today they enjoy doting on their great- granddaughter Rowan. They still reside in Middle Village and attend many social events as an admired couple.

Peter Wolyniec

Peter has been part of the Maspeth landscape since his birth in 1950. He was born a “special baby” with a severe case of Syndactylism which affects the formation and position of the body’s extremities. Peter underwent many surgeries to improve his ability to walk and the dexterity to function in our everyday world.
Although he was compromised at birth but overcame his afflictions with true grit attending Holy Cross Grammar School and Christ the King High School.

As a youngster he became a Boy Scout of troop #213 at the American Legion in Maspeth. LaGuardia Community College offered a course in handicapped typing, which provided the impetus to be offered a job as a computer operator at Pfizer Chemical. That same year, 1978, Peter was a charter member of the newly formed Maspeth Lions Club. He ascended to President for two years and has been its Recording Secretary since 1985. It was around this time in his life that he also joined the United Veteran & Fraternal Organization of Maspeth. He served as its President for two years, Recording Secretary for 30 years and Parade Commentator for 25 years.

Now in his golden years he has but one regret, not being able to join the armed services because of his dis- abilities. Peter is indeed proud of the long line of relatives that have served their country in military service. His motto is “God, Country & Family.”

Wendell: Remembering Woodhaven’s Lt. Harry Joseph Schmitt

He was a Woodhaven boy. He lived on Jamaica Avenue. He attended PS 97 and Franklin K. Lane High School and picked up a few bucks delivering The Leader-Observer.

As a young man, he went to Queens College where he excelled in the classroom and on the baseball diamond. He was honored as a distinguished military graduate and received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force, where he trained to be a pilot.

He was just 23 years old and his future was bright, but Woodhaven was still close to his heart. While stationed at an Air Force base in Dover, Delaware, as a radar observer, he kept an old postcard of Forest Parkway in his locker.

He kept in touch with his folks regularly and they spoke about his next visit to his old hometown. In fact, his bags were already packed and he was ready to go on leave.

And he would be bringing home a surprise for his family, the young woman who he was planning to make his wife.

But Harry Schmitt never came home. In July 1958, he was killed while on a routine flight over the Atlantic off the coast of Cape May, New Jersey

As with any accident, the details of what happened are as murky as the waters Harry Schmitt’s plane crashed into. It appears that the pilot did not realize how low he was flying. In fact, he may have even skipped the jet across the top of the ocean.

The pilot ordered Harry Schmitt to bail, but because the plane was so low when he ejected, his parachute never opened. The Air Force speculated that he was killed instantly but we’ll never know for certain as the young man from Woodhaven was never found.

It was front page news here in Woodhaven. Lt. Harry Joseph Schmitt was remembered at a Solemn High Mass of Requiem at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.

The Leader-Observer expressed their grief and fondly remembered the boy who delivered this newspaper.

“From the first day when he took his papers out on his route, his spirit of affable friendliness endeared him to everyone,” the paper recalled in an editorial.

They remembered his cheery greetings whenever he entered the newspaper’s office on Jamaica Avenue, and they shared how friendly Harry was to all of the customers on his paper route.

“The memory of Harry Schmitt’s grin and exuberant ‘Hi!’ will never be forgotten,” the Leader wrote.

But as the years went by, it would appear that the memory of young Harry Schmitt began to fade away in Woodhaven, but he was never forgotten, certainly not by American Legion Post 118.

Starting in 1961, our local American Legion has been honoring its members in their Garden of Remembrance, which was planned to be a “miniature Arlington Cemetery,” with a marker honoring residents of Woodhaven who died in service or afterwards.

It is a beautiful sight, a field of crosses filling the front yard of the post, each marker representing someone who is no longer with us. A ceremony is held every year in honor of those that the markers represent.

And every year since 1961, Harry Schmitt has been part of that Garden of Remembrance; a cross bearing his name has been on display, with all the others, every Memorial Day.

The Schmitt family left Woodhaven just a year after young Harry perished and they were unaware that the Post had continued to honor Harry in their garden each year. It touched them deeply that their Harry had never been forgotten.

In 2018, 60 years after Harry was lost, the Schmitt family returned to Woodhaven for Memorial Day services at the Post. Harry’s sister Margaret was presented with a memorial flag while everyone observed a moment of silence.

During the ceremony, Commander John Lawless asked everyone to look at the Garden of Remembrance. “Sadly, each year, our garden grows,” he said.

Each new marker is a new name that will forever be remembered and honored by American Legion Post 118 and the residents of Woodhaven.

Please note that American Legion Post 118 will be hosting a Memorial Day Observance at Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue on Thursday, May 26th starting at 6:30 p.m. And on Memorial Day itself, resident will begin gathering at 10:30 for the annual Memorial Day Observance outside the post, in front of the Garden of Remembrance.

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