NORTH ARLINGTON –
Mary Swedeski-Biro, a Queen of Peace High School alumna and a decorated soldier, will head up North Arlington’s annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony, it was announced by the parade committee. The borough’s Memorial Day observance on May 25 will begin with a ceremony, co-hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Calo Sass Post 4697 and American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37, at 9 a.m. at the VFW parking lot in front of the monument at 222 River Road.
Marchers, led by Swedeski- Biro, VFW Post Commander Antonio Alho Jr., Legion Post Commander Ed McDonough and veterans, will step off at 2 p.m. May 25 from the corner of Ridge Road and Canterbury Ave. and proceed south on Ridge about a mile to the reviewing stand at Borough Hall for memorial ceremonies.
After the service, everyone is invited for refreshments in the Borough Hall parking lot.
Between 500 and 600 participants will be involved in the parade which as many as 1,000 spectators figure to be watching, said James Hermann, the borough’s recreation director and a member of the parade committee.
Hermann said that members of the borough Recreation Commission and representatives of the veterans have been meeting “since February” to organize the event, including the line of march.
Veterans will be joined by local elected officials – Mayor Joseph Bianchi and Borough Council members – along with Bergen County officials, Monsignor William J. Fadrowski of Queen of Peace, Bishop Frank Dupree and the Living Water Church, North Arlington’s Volunteer Fire Department, Police Department, recreation and civic groups, Boy and Girl Scouts and Daisies, the high school drama club, among other contingents.
And, of course, there will be musical participation: North Arlington PD and FD bagpipe units, North Arlington Elementary School Band, North Arlington Middle School and High School Marching Bands, and the renowned St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band of Kearny.
As an added attraction, representatives of the Garden State Roller Girls will also be on hand.
Born and raised in North Arlington, Swedeski-Biro attended Queen of Peace from K to grade 12 and enjoyed playing softball and basketball with the borough recreation program and her school.
After graduating from Queen of Peace High School, Mary took a bus cross-country to Arizona to see more of the country, working in the fast food industry, as a maid and at a nursery school.
In 1995, wanting to do something meaningful with her life, she enlisted in the Army and was sent to Fort Jackson, S.C., for basic training, Fort Lee, Va., and then Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for petroleum specialist training.
That summer, she was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., with the 3rd Infantry Division, HQ Supply Company, where she conducted countless refueling operations with wheeled and tracked vehicles as well as aircraft.
In 1996, Mary volunteered to ship out to Kuwait and, after several months of duty, received the Army Achievement medal for outstanding performance under extremely stressful conditions.
After three years active duty and four years inactive duty, Mary was honorably discharged in 2002.
Applying her military training as a civilian, Mary is now the lead line service technician at Teterboro Airport.
Today, Mary’s family are parishioners of Queen of Peace Church and she is chaplain with VFW Post 4697 and junior vice commander with American Legion Post 37. She’s also a faith formation teacher in Verona.
Mary lives in Bloomfield with her husband Joe and their two children, Joseph, 6, and Loretta, 2.