The theme of this year’s parade is “Maspeth Stands and Salutes the American Flag.” It will begin at 1 p.m. at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue, and memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. at Maspeth Memorial Park at 69th Street & Grand Avenue.
The contingent of marchers will include the 319th Statue of Liberty Army Band and seven other bands, USO, over 60 Marines, sailors and Color Guard, and over 1,000 civilian marchers, floats, antique cars and military vehicles.
This year's Grand Marshals are Kathleen Nealon and Frank Caruso.
Nealon was born and raised in Maspeth. She attended St. Adalbert’s Elementary School, and went on to attend Saint Francis Prep, where she received the Franciscan Spirit Award.
She attended Mount St. Vincent College in Riverdale, where she served a term as student body president. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications and business.
Presently, she runs a sales team for a company in Manhattan that specializes in placing people in tech careers in different companies all over New York City. She is also involved in a foundation that introduces technology to underprivileged children.
Nealon volunteers at Maspeth Town Hall and St. Adalbert ‘s Parish, where she helps with the CCD program and is a Eucharistic Minister.
During the holidays, she enjoys singing for the patients in the neighborhood nursing homes, and on the anniversary of September 11th she can be found spending time with the families of those who were tragically lost on that day.
Nealon is involved with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, and runs the 5K every year in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on that terrible day.
Many in Maspeth are familiar with Nealon as the singer of the National Anthem, accompanied by Kenneth Rudzewick, at Maspeth Federal Bank's annual September 11th Ceremony. She has been singing at this ceremony since high school.
Frank Caruso was born in Williamsburg and attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He graduated from Alexander Hamilton Vocational & Technical High School, and then enlisted in the United States Air Force, spending three years stateside.
He spent his last year in the service at Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam assigned to the 1877 Communication Squadron, fixing communication equipment that processed crucial data used for identification purposes.
During his tenure in the Air Force, he received the Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Outstanding Unit Award, and from New York State a Medal for Merit and the Conspicuous Service Star.
Once discharged from the military, he was employed by the New York Telephone Company, Port Authority of NY & NJ Police Department and the NYCTA, where he received a Commendation Medal for the safe rescue of passengers from a stalled train.
Caruso is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, where he and his comrades take pride in helping other veterans. He is also a member of both the United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth and the Kowalinski Post #4.
His awards include a Commendation from the New York City Council, Humanitarian Award from the Queens Parade Committee, and various certificates of recognition from elected officials.
Caruso feels blessed to work with people who have taken time from their families to make the world a better place and whose dedication to helping veterans and their respective communities is unmatched.
His plans for the coming year include undertaking two new projects include ARTbeat5 NY, which teaches young children to paint and get involved in their community. He will also be collecting used toys for shipment to an orphanage in the Philippines.