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Parades slated for Maspeth, Ridgewood

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While many local residents plan to attend barbecues or possibly catch a movie this Memorial Day weekend, organizers of this year’s Memorial Day parades in Ridgewood and Maspeth are asking folks not to forget the true reason for the holiday: honoring those who fought and died for their country.

“It is certainly about paying homage to the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to make this country the great country it is today,” said Ken Rudzewick, president of Maspeth Federal Savings & Loan, which sponsors the annual parade in Maspeth. “It’s the price of freedom and they paid the ultimate price.”

The Maspeth parade celebrates its 26th anniversary this year after being started by Rudzewick, a U.S. Army veteran, in 1984.

This year’s parade down Grand Avenue starts at 1 p.m. at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park. The memorial service begins about 2 p.m. at the World War II and Korean War monument near the bank.

During the service, parade organizers will award savings bond prizes to winners of the “You Are Not Forgotten” essay contest as well as the 2010 Poppy Poster contest.

Ten marching bands and four floats sponsored by the Brooklyn Queensboro 878 Elks Lodge, the Maspeth Lyons Club, the Maspeth Veterans Association and Maspeth Federal Savings & Loan will participate in the parade and service.

This year’s grand marshals are Mary Ann Walter, a public school teacher and Girl Scouts of the USA service unit manager, and World War II veteran John Dolan, a member of the Kowalinski Post, a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.

In Ridgewood and Glendale, the communities’ cooperative parade begins at 11 a.m. Monday at the Ridgewood memorial near the intersection of Cypress and Myrtle avenues. Participants will walk to the Glendale veteran’s triangle at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and 70th Street, where services will begin between 11:30 a.m. and noon.

Vincent Arcuri, chairman of Community Board 5, who is also a parade organizer, said this year’s services involve local veteran and military units from Fleet Week as well as community civic associations, some political clubs, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the USA, some church organizations and cheerleaders from local schools.

“They’ll have the poppy salute where they present the wreath of poppies, a religious reading, the gun salute, singing of the National Anthem, reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and a benediction by another religious leader,” he said. “That will occur at both locations.”

In the midst of the three-day weekend, Rudzewick asked residents to participate in Memorial Day services, particularly at a time when the country is at war.

“These Americans are giving their lives so that [we] can go out to barbecues and go fishing,” he said. “It’s important these people take time out to pay homage. Certainly in the town of Maspeth we endeavor to do that. That’s what our ceremony and parade is all about.”

Reach reporter Chauncey Alcorn by e-mail at calcorn@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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