Sunnyside marks Flag Day with neighborhood pageantry

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Friends, family, Scouts, veterans and a marching band were out in full force Saturday in Sunnyside for Flag Day, waving the red, white and blue in sweltering 90-degree weather.

Together they marched from Greenpoint Avenue and 41st Street to Joe Sabba Park, located at 49th Street and Queens Boulevard.

The park was named after Sabba, a Sunnyside resident, to recognize his honorable service in the Army Air Corps during World War II and his activism helping people throughout his neighborhood, according to the Archives of the mayor’s office.

“I’ve come for the last 14 years because I love America, and in Queens we have so many nationalit­ies,” Kitty McGee said. “Queens is the most ethnically diverse county, and I love it.”

Her friend, Kathy Jacob, “came out because it is patriotic” and she wanted to salute the flag.

The Peña and Perez family turned out seven strong waving the American flag while some dressed in traditional Mexican costumes.

“Flag Day means culture and family,” Jasmine Perez said. “All the people in Sunnyside, or wherever, come together and celebrate where we live.”

Representing the Boy Scouts in the neighborhoods of Woodside and Sunnyside at the parade were Troop 390 members Eddie Avila, Ziad Wazihullah, both 14, and Noah Jacobson, 13.

“It’s a really good holiday that everybody from Sunnyside really loves,” Ziad said.

Vietnam veterans Mike Smith and Paul Dubois, along with auxiliary support member Sandra Bigitschke, celebrated the event by representing Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2813, which is located at 47-53 43rd St. in Woodside,.

“It’s just our way to express our appreciation to everybody in the country,” Smith said.

“It’s to honor the flag under which I served,” said Dubois.

Playing the flute with the Long Island City Marching Band was Band President George Vazquez.

“I’m here to let people know we are out there and for the fun of it,” said Vazquez, who leads a group of 20 people. “Even though it’s a small group, I’m grateful for these people coming here.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, June 19, 2017
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