Maspeth Memorial Day Parade: Sunday May 29th, 2022 @ 1PM
Parade Begins at Grand Avenue & 69th Street
Memorial Services immediately following the parade at Maspeth Memorial Square
Parade Route – Please be aware that, due to ongoing construction, the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade will begin and end at Grand Avenue & 69th Street.
The theme of the 2022 Maspeth Memorial Day Parade is “Maspeth Honors Our Gold Star Families”. Gold Star Families are the immediate family members of a fallen service member who died in combat. These three families will be recognized.
Gold Star Family of Marine Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez
Marine Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez, of Queens, NY, died at age 21 serving our country. He was assigned to 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center; killed in action near the Euphrates River northwest of Nasiriyah, Iraq. As the baby in a family of five children, Rodriguez looked up to his brothers and sisters and wanted to make them proud. His family valued education, but he found school boring, and so after he received his high school diploma, Rodriguez joined the marines at age 17. He became a member of the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. He was sent to Kuwait in January as a corporal. “He loved the Marines,” said his sister Hyda Hernandez-Lopez. “We were all so very proud of him. He was our hero.” Rodriguez was killed in March 2003, when the tank he was in plunged off a bridge and into the Euphrates River.
Gold Star Family of John Cono Desio
John Cono Desio (they called him Johnny) was one of seven children of Joseph and Rose Desio. He was the oldest son born in 1918. In the 1930’s his family moved from Brooklyn to Maspeth. Prior to his being drafted into the US Army he was employed as a manager at the Lombardy Hotel in NYC. At the time the Hotel attracted many celebrity guests. His favorite was an actor named Bruce Cabot. Johnny would regale his family with his celebrity encounters. He was also an avid NY Yankee fan and regularly took his youngest brother Joe to Yankee Stadium. In 1942 he was drafted into the US Army. Ultimately, he served as a Sergeant and tank commander. He landed in Normandy France in the summer of ’44. With his tank unit he headed west. He saw combat all the way through Rohrbach, France and back east through the French countryside. After fierce fighting to capture the small French town of St. Jean Roblach (only a few miles from Germany) he was killed on a rainy and cold Thanksgiving Day on November 23, 1944. The series of battles he endured were a prelude to the Battle of the Bulge. He was interred temporarily in Limey, France and when hostilities ceased, he was returned to rest in the family plot in St. John’s Cemetery, Queens. He never married and had no children, but he has long been remembered by his extended family for his courage, bravery and affability.
Gold Star Family of Kenneth Johnson, Sp‐4 US Army KIA
Kenneth Johnson was raised in Middle Village Queens living with his Uncle Rudolph Kaprolat [Uncle Rudy] he attended PS 87 Grammar school and Grover Cleveland High School. Kenneth’s aspiration was to join the NYC Police department, Kenneth was drafted into the US Army on 16 December 1965, after training in the States he began his tour in Vietnam on Dec.17, 1966 attached to Co‐B, 2ND battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Div. On Feb. 22, 1967 Operation Junction City began in South Vietnam in the province of Tay Ninh near the border of Cambodia, it was one of the largest air‐mobile assaults ever, 240 helicopters swept over Tay Ninh province. The goal of Junction City was to destroy Vietcong bases and the VC military headquarters located north of Saigon, some 30,000 U.S. Troops plus 5,000 South Vietnamese Army personnel [ARVN] participated. After 72 days of battle American forces succeeded in capturing large caches of equipment and weapons, killing 2,800 VC and NVA soldiers, 282 American soldiers were killed in action. March 25, 1967 while on patrol during Operation Junction City riding atop a tank in the jungles of South Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province the tank ran over an enemy land mine killing SP‐4 Kenneth Johnson, Ken’s birthday was five days before his death he was 22-years-old.