Legion Post Announces Memorial Day Honorees
The Annual Memorial Day Parade and Services sponsored by the Daniel M. O’Connell Post #272 of the American Legion is scheduled for Monday, May 26 at 11 a.m.
The day will begin with a Memorial Mass at St. Francis De Sales Church, located at Beach 129 Street, immediately followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Four Chaplains plaque outside the church.
The parade is expected to start at 11:45 a.m. and proceed down Rockaway Beach Boulevard with services at Memorial Circle, Beach 120 Street at noon and then continue at Doughbloy Monument, Beach 94 Street for a concluding ceremony. The general public and organized groups are welcome to march in the parade. It is requested that groups check-in that morning with the parade chairman, Jack Domfort.
The American Legion is privileged to have as this year’s honorees and Grand Marshals Leslie Brown and Al Flanagan. Both epitomize values held dear to the American Legion of service to country and community.
Brown was born in Hungary and emigrated to Brooklyn in 1937 as a teenager. In 1942 he entered the Army and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day+2. He was an infantryman assigned to the 314 Infantry Regiment, 79 Division, First Army.
In July 1944 Brown was wounded, and after a recuperation period he returned to action. He was captured in January 1945 and beaten mercilessly when it was learned that he was Jewish. Liberated in 1945 he was returned to the States and while on leave met his wife, the former Lillian Altshuler, on the beach in Rockaway.
Brown’s military awards include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and four campaign ribbons. He is a retired clothing manufacturer who has lived in this community for the past 58 years. He has two children and a granddaughter.
Al Flanagan was born and raised in Manhattan. He entered the Army in 1942 and was a medic with the 312 field artillery Regiment of the 79 Division. He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day+4 and his unit spearheaded fighting in four campaigns leading to V-E Day. His military awards include four campaign ribbons.
Discharged on Christmas Eve, 1945 Flanagan returned to the Murray Hill section of Manhattan. Shortly thereafter he met his wife, the former Julia Fitzpatrick. They have four children and six grandchildren. He is a retired NYPD Detective who has lived in Rockaway for the past 39 years.
In 2001 both Brown and Flanagan received the Jubilee Medal of Freedom awarded by the French government in appreciation of their sacrifices to liberate France. Both of the Grand Marshals are active in civic, religious and military organizations.