Members of the community joined the Forest Hills Kiwanis and American Legion Continental Post 1424 for the event, which included the chance to meet the 2019 grand marshals.
Susan Browning, executive director of Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, and Eileen Gillespie, a United States Army Nurse Corps officer, veteran, and reservist, spoke to the attendees about their delight at being selected to lead the annual parade.
“This is an incredible honor to be serving as grand marshal,” Browning said. “I want to thank the American Legion for all of the outstanding work that they do in our community and serving our veterans.”
Over the past several years, with Browning’s leadership, LIJ Forest Hills has made strides when it comes to women’s health and bariatric services, in addition to high-quality services for the elderly.
“Being grand marshal is a natural extension of what my job is, understanding what the community needs are and responding,” she added.
Since completing her tour of duty, Gillespie has worked at LIJ Forest Hills as a senior administrative director.
“I’m incredibly humbled,” Gillespie said. “Thank you for spending your time to remember all those who never came home. This is amazing and I’m getting choked up, but thank you so much.”
Tom Long, Legion commanding officer, said he was on the verge of stopping the parade a few years ago because the expenses were too great.
However, over the last two to three years, the community has shown increasing support for the event.
“It’s been a longstanding tradition in Forest Hills, and thanks to the Forest Hills Kiwanis, local business and the community, we gave it another shot,” Long said. “Every year it’s been getting bigger and better.”
This year’s parade will take place on Sunday, May 26, at noon. It will begin at the intersection of Metropolitan and Ascan avenues.
A ceremony will be held prior to the parade at 11 a.m. in front of the American Legion, which is located at 107-15 Metropolitan Avenue.
Dan Brown, Veterans Affairs liaison for the Borough President’s Office, said the parade was a way to honor those who dedicated their lives to defend the country.
“This is an exciting time of the year when we get a chance to work with parade committees and have our own events for veterans,” Brown said. “These parades are very important. It’s important that we remember.”