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Forest Hills honors U.S. heroes

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Photo gallery

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Players from the Forest Hills Little League march down Metropolitan Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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WWII veteran Ted Witterholt, who served in the Army Infantry from Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge, applauds passing veterans. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Millie Jawdoszyn, 20 months old, waves a flag as she watches the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade along Metropolitan Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Melinda Katz and Curis Sliwa walk with their children. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the All-City High School Marching Band play along the route. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Veterans march in the Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Mary, 11, and Sarah, 8, Haley help to carry the banner for the American Legion Continental Post. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Liela Pereyra gets a ride. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Curtis Sliwa holds his one-year-old son, Hunter. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Brownies cool off in the shade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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(l.-r.) Isabella Guzowski, Audrey Demmett and Aaliyah Guzowski wear red, white and blue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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First Lt. Jenny Gracia from the Civil Air Patrol Flushing Cadet Squadron marches in the parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Michael Genovese, 4, represents the Forest HIlls Little League. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg (r.) makes the rounds before the start of the parade in Forest Hills. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Girl scouts carry flags and banners. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Cookie, the dog, sports a patriotic bandana. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Kateyln Bara, 3, waves a flag as she sits on Metropolitan Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Youngsters (l.-r.) Joseph Ham, Filip Cristea and Matthew Ham line Metropolitan Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Forest Hills resident Meaghan King, 6, carries her flag. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Cyndy Killion twirls her baton. Photo by Christina Santucci

Residents lined Metropolitan Avenue in remembrance of veterans at the annual Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade Sunday.

The throngs of onlookers waved American flags at servicemen and women while distinguished guests, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, marched to the beat of numerous drums.

“This isn’t just a day off,” said Janet Recchi. “We’re here to honor our veterans because without them we wouldn’t be able to have parades at all.”

Marching along with Bloomberg were elected officials, including state Sens. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), as well as City Council members Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).

“It’s a time we set aside to honor the ones charged with protecting our freedoms,” Ulrich said. “The crowd here today is a testament to the kind of communities we have across Queens. Men and women laid down their lives for our country and we gather to honor them.”

The Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade dates back to 1946 and Barbara Stuchinski, one of the parade’s grand marshals, has been around for 60 of them.

Stuchinski is the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association president, Parks Committee chairwoman of Community Board 6 and deputy chief and co-chairwoman of the community board’s Community Emergency Response Team. She is also a member of American Legion Post No. 1424.

“It’s a tremendous honor to serve as a grand marshal,” said Stuchinski, 76, noting that her father served in World War I.

The second grand marshal, Robert E. O’Malley, a 65-year-old Vietnam War veteran, received the Medal of Honor for his service.

The parade was hosted by American Legion Continental Post No. 1424 and in particular by Vietnam veteran Gene Burch, the longest-serving member of the post’s parade committee.

“When I walk down that avenue, I’m thinking of every individual that served with me, but also of all the other men and women, including the ones that are fighting in Afghanistan right now,” he said. “I’m always thinking of them.”

Each year since 1946, the parade was solely sponsored by the American Legion Post, but because of financial cutbacks the legion reached out to TD Bank to help with funding this year. The Forest Hills Kiwanis Club also sponsored the parade.

As the parade wound down Metropolitan Avenue, it came to a stop at Remsen Memorial Cemetery, where the city Parks Department joined elected officials in honoring Thomas Winberry, a Korean War veteran and former commander of the legion post who died last year.

“It’s important that we do everything we can to honor the vets who have died but also those who remain with us,” said Addabbo. “A parade is a small gesture, but we hope it raises awareness, especially in the younger generation.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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Reader Feedback

Nick Halpern from Woodhaven says:
I am a Korean vet & appreciate the parade.
June 3, 2012, 7:56 pm

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