2001-06-02 / Front Page

The Vets Shined, The Sun Did Not

The Vets Shined, The Sun Did Not


There was lots of activity in Rockaway over the Memorial Day weekend, what with parades, picnics and lots of war movies on television. There was less activity on many Rockaway beaches, not only because of the  often inclement weather, but because many of the local beaches were closed due to the lifeguard shortage. The area from Beach 108 to Beach 114 Streets (left) was closed for that reason and flags denoted the area for would be swimmers.There was lots of activity in Rockaway over the Memorial Day weekend, what with parades, picnics and lots of war movies on television. There was less activity on many Rockaway beaches, not only because of the often inclement weather, but because many of the local beaches were closed due to the lifeguard shortage. The area from Beach 108 to Beach 114 Streets (left) was closed for that reason and flags denoted the area for would be swimmers.

The Memorial Day weekend was days of washout for some and days of pride for others. Despite some small bursts of sun amid the clouds and drizzle, few beachgoers showed up to enjoy Rockaway’s recently cleaned beaches. Many did show up, however, in both Broad Channel and Rockaway to honor those men and women who lost their lives ensuring their way of life.

For most of the weekend, lifeguards hunkered down on their chairs, wrapped in blankets to keep them from the chill. It was not until late on Memorial Day that the sun came out to warm those few who dared to bring their chairs and picnic lunches to the beach.

What they found in many cases were beaches blocked off with snow fences and red flags denoting that the beach was closed. Parks police stood by to inform beachgoers that they could walk in the beach, but that swimming was off limits. In most cases, the beach was closed due to a lack of lifeguards. In a few cases, Piping Plovers, little birds that are protected by the federal government, were the culprits. A Parks Enforcement Officer who told would-be beachgoers that the beach was closed and probably would remain so for most of the season, for example, manned the beach from Beach108 to Beach 114 Streets.

Despite the weather, or perhaps because of it, many Rockaway and Broad Channel residents showed up to honor the ever-decreasing numbers of veterans who remain.


The Broad Channel parade on Sunday brought out lots of marchers and watchers. Among the marchers was William Wiese, 77 (center) a WWII veteran with the 89 Infantry.The Broad Channel parade on Sunday brought out lots of marchers and watchers. Among the marchers was William Wiese, 77 (center) a WWII veteran with the 89 Infantry.

In Broad Channel on Sunday, residents lined Cross Bay Boulevard, waving flags and cheering their favorite veterans and marchers.

One WWII veteran, William Wiese of Broad Channel, "marched" the parade route in a wheelchair. The 77-year-old Wiese proudly represented those men of the 89th Infantry Division who were no longer able to march.

For the first time in many years, there were two major parades on the Rockaway peninsula on Monday to celebrate Memorial Day.

The Rockaway Park parade featured three ceremonies – on at the "Four Chaplains" monument, one at Memorial Circle on Beach 121 Street and another at the monuments nearby the 100 Precinct House.


Walter Patterson (right) dedicated a tree at the Memorial Circle on Beach 121 Street to his buddy, Harold Roberts, who died in the Battle of the Bulge in June of 1944.Walter Patterson (right) dedicated a tree at the Memorial Circle on Beach 121 Street to his buddy, Harold Roberts, who died in the Battle of the Bulge in June of 1944.

At the Memorial Circle ceremony, a plaque was unveiled to the memory of Rabbi Joseph Weiss, a chaplain during WWII and long time Rabbi of the West End Synagogue, who passed away recently.


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