In attendance were GWDC president Stephen Esposito, who served as master of ceremonies with GWDC member Paul Rudolph, Jr., State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman Michael Miller and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.
Crowley was presented with a miniature golden carousel horse on behalf of her efforts and support of the GWDC and its 30-year pursuit of the landmarking of the Forest Park Carousel.
There was a pleasant surprise when Anil Sheokumar from the office of Public Advocate Letitia James presented the WBID with a proclamation.
The new commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, Captain Courtney B. Nilan, was also introduced to the crowd. Deputy Inspector Deodat Urprasad is now at Queens South headquarters, and we wish him well.
It was a great evening with beautiful weather and the beautiful people of Woodhaven. The Menorah can be seen in our second-floor window. This year Hanukkah falls on December 12.
Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the costumed characters counted down to the lighting of a beautiful Christmas tree to a huge roar of delight.
After the ceremony, I rushed over to Woodhaven Manor for the annual Franklin K. Lane H.S. Military Ball, Santa hat and all. It was a lovely evening with the handsome young men in uniforms sporting ribbons signifying their many military awards.
The beautiful young ladies were dressed in lovely formal gowns and dresses, and it was a true military ball, made possible by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Gracia and Master Sergeant Eddie Carr. Colonel J. Licata, director of the John Adams ROTC program, and ROTC cadets shared the evening.
The keynote speaker was Assemblyman Miller, and then I was ushered to the front of the hall and the ceremonial folding of the flag began. The significance of each fold was explained, and at the end it was presented to me.
What an exhilarating experience. This is an honor that I will forever cherish and remember.
So when you see military families presented with a folded American flag, know this is a proud tradition. My family has three WWII veterans that have passed, and my two sisters and niece proudly received these folded flags. Now I know the significance of each fold.
The next day, the WBID-sponsored Welcome Santa to Woodhaven Parade took place. It included classic cars, the great Franklin K. Lane Marching Band, Girl and Boy Scouts, students from St. Thomas Academy, and members of the Historical Society, GWDC, WBID, and the 38 A.D. Part B Regular Democratic Club.
The stars of the sunny day were Santa and Mrs. Claus in a classic convertible. At the end of the parade, free pizza was distributed, all courtesy of the WBID.
The WBID will host free pictures with Santa and friends in Forest Parkway Plaza at Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue, weather permitting, on December 9 and December 16 from 1 to 4 p.m.
All of these events at Christmas and other times of the year are meant to encourage you to shop locally at the stores that give back to our community.
May God bless our disabled veterans, may God bless our armed forces, may God bless our leaders, may God bless our NYPD and police officers everywhere, and may God bless our America.