June 9, 2022 By Christian Murray
The 52nd annual Flag Day Parade will be taking place in Sunnyside Saturday with Assemblymember Cathy Nolan being the grand marshal.
The parade, which is believed to be the only Flag Day parade in Queens, will start at 11 a.m. on the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and 40th Street. Participants will then march east up Greenpoint Avenue to Joe Sabba Park, which is located at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 49th Street.
A patriotic ceremony honoring the flag will then be held at Sabba Park at around noon, where groups will perform and the national anthem will be sung. Elected officials such as Councilmember Julie Won and Nolan are among those who are expected to speak.
The march is organized each year by the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside and features local civic groups, schools, bands as well as the Sunnyside Drum Corps. Each group will march behind its respective banner.
Flag Day is a national holiday that has been held every June 14 since 1949 and it honors the Star Spangled Banner. The idea was originally proposed in 1885 as a way to inspire students to honor the nation’s flag.
Peter Ross, a Kiwanis member and the parade coordinator, said that club was glad to bring the parade back after a two-year hiatus. The club’s last parade was in 2019, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ross, along with local Kiwanis president Howard Brickman, said the club is honored to have Nolan as its grand marshal.
“She’s actually been a member of the Kiwanis Club for 35 years,” Ross said. “We know that she is retiring [from political office] and we wanted to do something special for her after all the civic work she has done.”
Ross, who marched in the parade as a child in the 1970s, said that it was important to keep the parade’s tradition alive.
He said that Sunnyside’s parade is unique since most neighborhood parades take place on Veterans Day or Memorial Day and this sets the neighborhood apart.
He said that the St. Pat’s for All Parade that is held in Sunnyside and Woodside each year is special but that it is important to keep this one going too.
He said that Queens is very diverse, and Flag Day is a great opportunity for everyone to unite.
“We are a melting pot in this country and it’s important thing for everybody to be able to display their heritage throughout the year,” Ross said. “Flag Day is a day where we can all come together no matter our creed or ethnic origin and show our pride together.”
Clubs and groups that want to participate in the parade should reach out to Peter Ross at [email protected]