Rockaway, BC Set Memorial Day Parades
As has been the tradition for many years, both Broad Channel and Rockaway have scheduled Memorial Day parades for the upcoming weekend.
The Broad Channel parade, co-sponsored by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, will take place on Sunday, May 28 at noon. As usual, it will step off from the park on East 17 Road and go to the memorial triangle on Cross Bay Boulevard for services.
The annual Memorial Day Parade in Rockaway, sponsored by the Daniel M. O'Connell Post 272 of the American Legion, will be held Monday, May 29.
A 10:30 a.m. Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, immediately followed by a wreath laying service at the Four Chaplains Memorial outside of the church, located on Beach 129 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
The parade will proceed down Rockaway Beach Boulevard to Memorial Circle at Beach 121 Street, where at 12 noon the Jewish War Veterans of America will conduct memorial services and wreath laying. Mary Ruth Klimow of Upland California, whose father, 1st Lt. Joseph J. Thier was killed in action in the Philippines, will lay a wreath in his honor. The Thier family lived in Belle Harbor during World War II.
The parade will continue east down Rockaway Beach Boulevard to the Doughboy Monument and Women's Veterans Monument at Beach 94 Street for concluding services.
This year's parade grand marshal is Peter Hayden, Chief of the Fire Department of New York. Chief Hayden is originally from Rockaway and lives with his wife and family in Rockaway Park. He has risen through the ranks of the Fire Department, and after 38 years of service, will be retiring at the highest uniformed position.
The Rockaway community is encouraged to participate in Memorial Day services by attending any one of the three memorial location services on the peninsula, and cheer on parade marchers along the parade
Hayden's 38 years with the Fire Department began on November 30, 1968. His experience includes assignments in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He served as Chief of Safety from 1995 to 1997 and Division Commander of the 1st Division at the time of the World Trade Center attack.
Hayden led the rescue and recovery operations at the World Trade Center, supervising approximately 1,500 firefighters and emergency service personnel, formulating strategy and daily operational plans.
After September 11, 2001, Chief Hayden served as the Assistant Chief of Operations for the FDNY.
On June 27, 2004, Hayden was promoted as the 32nd Chief of the Department.
He is the highest-ranking uniformed member.
Chief Hayden has been married to his wife, Rita McCarthy, for 31 years. They have five children, Rita, Katherine, Peter, Patrick and Mary. Peter and Patrick are both New York City firefighters, Peter working in Ladder Company 147 and Patrick in Ladder Company 105.