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In June I was lucky enough to attend events that exemplify what is best about our country and, specifically, community.
One night, the Astoria-LIC Kiwanis, a local organization made up of caring businesspeople from our area, had their annual Police and Fire Awards Ceremony, in which they honored six local firefighters and police officers for acts of valor and community service in the line of duty. Just listening to their commanding officers explain how they put their lives on the line gave the audience an appreciation of the American spirit that we celebrate on the Fourth of July.
The night before that, I was lucky to represent Community Board 1, as its public safety chairman, at the 30th Annual Fireworks Spectacular, brought to us by the Central Astoria LDC and the spirit of Julie Wager. If you were at Astoria Park that night, you saw one of the best fireworks displays we have all been treated to in years.
After a drenching downpour, the skies cleared and were filled with a 25-minute, musical tribute to our country. The number of families, kids and neighbors filling that green meadow was a testament to the community that is Astoria — a resilient, family-oriented neighborhood that has so much to offer. Kudos to the CALDC for another job well-done.
Finally, the day before that, in 98-degree weather, volunteers from the New York Anti Crime Agency, which I lead, finished a 10-year project in which 26 names of local veterans were placed in the “Greater Love Than This” Veterans Memorial Grove on Shore Boulevard between the Hellgate and Triborough bridges in Astoria Park.
Now, 200 names grace that hallowed ground so local families may honor their loved ones properly. Stop by and say a prayer for those brave souls who served our country. As the old saying goes, “Some gave all, all gave some.” Our thanks to those NYAC volunteers who worked those 10 years, the city Parks Department personnel who help with upkeep and local businessman Jack Brucculeri for his constant help and support in building the memorial.
These examples are what make Astoria a small slice of Americana and a shining example of what a community can achieve when all, caring organizations, dedicated public servants and involved citizens get together to improve their neighborhood and their neighbors’ lives.
Public Safety Chairman
Community Board 1
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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