This year's grand marshal was longtime former state senator Frank Padavan.
“These men and women represent all the best that our country has to offer,” he told the crowd gathered at 15th Road and 149th Street. “It is our sacred duty to honor them today.”
Also on hand for the event were several elected officials, including Borough President Melinda Katz, state senators Toby Stavisky and Tony Avella, Councilman Paul Vallone and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein.
“We must make it a priority in our city and country that a veteran that comes home is a veteran we watch over for a lifetime of service,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer.
The parade is sponsored by the Jewish War Veterans Post 415, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4787, and American Legion Post 131. Leaders of the groups urged residents who served the country in any capacity to join their ranks, as membership has dwindled over the years.
That was followed by a solemn remembrance of the members the groups lost over the past year. Each name was read aloud followed by the ringing of a bell.
The event culminated with a parade through Whitestone Village featuring veterans and community groups, such as the Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Association, Boy and Girls Scouts, and the Dwarf Giraffe sports organization.
The future of the parade is in jeopardy as the sponsoring groups lose members, making fundraising for the parade more difficult.
When the members of the board at Dwarf Giraffe learned that the 2019 parade was in jeopardy, the group decided to donate the $10,000 necessary to fund next's years event.
The group will be hosting a series of fundraisers over the coming year. Donations can be sent to the American Legion at 10-20 Clintonville Street. Checks should be made payable to “Whitestone Veterans Memorial Association.”