Before taking to the streets in a massive parade, ceremony and hosts from the Whitestone Veterans Memorial Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4787, Jewish War Veterans Post 415 and American Legion Post 131 paid their respects to the dead with wreath layings and words of remembrance from elected officials and from each other.Among the traditional celebrations were the recognitions of two area Goldstar Mothers, an organization of women who lost loved ones during wartime.Of the many elected city and state officials present at Whitestone's ceremony, including an appearance by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall urged the assembly of veterans and spectators to never forget the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers."Freedom is not free as we witnessed today with our two Goldstar (women)," she said, and while addressing the many veterans on hand, Marshall also thanked them for their efforts. "You kept the war from our shores. Today, as we stand here, we have young men and women keeping the war from our shores in Iraq. We have to thank all of them for what they do. We are not a country that forgets our veterans."State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Whitestone) also addressed the crowd, encouraging the many families to continue passing on the veterans' pride to future generations."What's important about today is the fact that there's so many young people here," Padavan said. "Our mission for the veterans and for all of us who do remember is to make sure that they understand what their fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers and everyone before them did to make sure this is a world full of peace and prosperity." After the speeches, songs, recognitions and moments of silence, the day turned on a higher note at the start of the parade. As thousands packed the streets, American flags flew freely and cheers erupted from all sides of the streets.As the Whitestone Fire Department Ladder 144 sounded its sirens at the tail end of the parade, spectators Pam Borelli-Styles and John Styles let out a jubilant cheer, waving their American flags with vigor.Pam's father, Raymond Borelli, used to march in the parade, she said. He was a World War II veteran who later became a fireman. He died from cancer in January, she said. As the first year watching the parade without her father, she said the moment was bittersweet."I miss him, but it's nice to see them all there," she said.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
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