This year’s parade marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which is officially observed on June 6.
The event honored grand marshals Stephen Marrone, a World War II veteran and retired NYPD sergeant, and Maria Dixon, director of the Selfhelp Maspeth Senior Center.
Marrone, who served in the Navy, protected ships from enemy planes during the war. In November 1943, he saved his good friend during an attack in the South Pacific.
He later re-enlisted for two years as a Gunners Mate. Marrone earned the Asiatic/Pacific Ribbon with 13 stars, Presidential Unit Citation, Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal and Good Conduct Medal.
He retired from the NYPD after 33 years of service and lives in Maspeth.
When asked what being a grand marshal meant to him, Marrone responded that it means he loves his country and all veterans.
“I think of all the guys that passed away,” he said. “We should never forget them. On this Memorial Day, we pause, we reflect and we remember.”
Dixon has worked for the last 25 years at the Maspeth senior center, where she maintains and develops programming for seniors. The center has 1,233 members with an average age of 78 years old.
“It’s a big honor to be among the great generation of people who really gave their all,” Dixon said about the parade.
“It is important to recognize the work that we do to help seniors remain active and independent,” she added, “and remain in their community with dignity and respect.”