MEMORIAL DAY 2017
Woodhaven's American Legion Post 118 has been organizing and holding Memorial Day observations for nearly a century. When you attend a Memorial Day service in Woodhaven, you are guaranteed a ceremony that is steeped in tradition and the 2017 service is no different. There are a lot of photos on this page but we'll start off with a brief video of the 2017 Memorial Day Observation at Post 118 which, this year, was conducted largely in the rain.The skies were dark and the weather forecast pretty drab, but a good sized crowd was already present when we arrived, 30 minutes before the observation was scheduled to begin.
The Legion has been honoring those who were lost while serving our country for over seven decades in their Garden of Remembrance, which is erected every year by the student ROTC of Franklin K. Lane. Over the years, the Garden has been expended to also include members of the post who are no longer with us.
The Garden of Remembrance grew this year with the additions of Albert Matukonis and Joseph Palladino. We thank them for their service. Future generations will honor their names in the Garden of Remembrance.
The large monument in front of Post 118 has an interesting history. It was bought and paid for through "tag sales" in the early 1920s and was originally placed in Forest Park, among all of the Memorial Trees (click here to see the ceremony officially co-naming Forest Park Memorial Drive). At that time, Post 188's headquarters were on Woodhaven Boulevard around 88th Avenue (when the boulevard was a single dirt lane). In order to expand the boulevard, the Legion's headquarters had to be demolished and a new one built at its current location (91st Street and 89th Avenue). In 1941, when they built the new post, they decided to move the monument to the new front yard.
Former Post Commander John Lawless and current Post Commander Hector Johnson led the observance.
The ceremony got started just before the rain started.
The honor guard from Franklin K. Lane carried the colors.
The members of the post watched proudly during the ceremony.
Then the rain started to fall - and it fell hard.
There was a touching moment at the Post presented a flag to the family of 99 year old Albert Matukonis, the WW2 Veteran who passed away a few weeks ago.
The umbrellas came out but the rain did not deter those who came out to join the observance.
When the ceremony ended, everyone was invited inside the post for refreshments. It was a nice crowd this year and you can see that the room was packed.
There was plenty of opportunity to catch up with your friends, relatives and neighbors!
Thanks to Loycent Gordon of Neir's Tavern for donating some wraps - it was a thoughtful gesture which was greatly appreciated.
This is Albert Matukonis' hat - the Post will be keeping it in a special spot to honor his memory.
The Garden of Remembrance will be up for a few more days. Be sure to stop by and take a few moments to look at it - it's very touching.
Flashback! Here is the post in 1965 - they were doing the garden back then except they called it "Cemetery in Miniature." It's a beautiful tribute and part of Woodhaven's tradition.
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Photos by Joey Wendell