Singing a patriotic anthem during Memorial Day ceremonies Monday May 28 in Chestertown are youngsters of Creative Opportunity Day Care, a local enterprise.
At a lectern standing on the local American Legion driveway, post Commander Joanne Ellsworth gazed over the large crowd gathered on the lawn of the town Municipal Center for the annual Memorial Day ceremonies in northern Warren County.
“We honor the memory of those who gave their lives in service to their country and are gone to their eternal rest,” she said. “May today’s ceremonies deepen our reverence for our fallen — and may we resolve by work as well as deed to emphasize the privilege and duty of patriotism.”
Legionnaire Ken Little, assisted by the local Boy Scouts, then lowered the American flag of the adjacent Legion Post to half-staff.
Flanking the flagstaff were 1998 North Warren graduate Michele Dygert — an Electrician in the U.S. Navy — and Army Reservist Daniel Searles of Chestertown.
The crowd was facing north this year, as the Municipal Center’s flagpole and entranceway is under construction, awaiting renovation and placement of eight granite memorials honoring local veterans of wars since the nation’s founding. The project is expected to be complete in July.
The North Warren High School Marching Band, under the direction of Colin MacInnis, played several patriotic selections.
North Warren student Christiaan Van Nispen then read a patriotic poem.
Local Eagle Scout Jacob Hill led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Later, Hill was presented with a bronze award for his work in constructing a new sign for the local legion Post and renovating their landscaping.
The pre-school children of Creative Opportunity Day Care Center sang God Bless America and America the Beautiful.
Fluttering in gentle breezes was a giant American flag, draped from the top of an aerial bucket of the Pottersville Fire Department’s tower truck.
Ellsworth told the crowd why the Chestertown, Horicon and Pottersville fire departments were chosen as grand marshals for the 2012 Memorial Day parade. The neighboring Riverside Fire Co. also participated in the ceremonies.
“These firefighters represent those in service to our communities, who, like our military and law enforcement personnel, are prepared to put their lives in danger for the safety of their fellow citizens,” she said.
Ellsworth expanded the idea to include EMS technicians and other volunteers involved in many aspects of community service.
“It takes family and community pulling together to watch out for each other,” Ellsworth said.
Local veterans Ken LIttle, Joe Slattery, Lou Little and Sam Maltbie fired their guns in a salute to fallen soldiers. They were backed up by flag bearers Frank Tucci and Al Mundy.
In the ceremony’s benediction, veteran Lou Russo called for people to not only remember those who served, but to incorporate such service into one’s own life.
“Emulate the sacred service of those who served their country,” he said.
The ceremony was followed by a reception and meal at the Legion Post.
Four floats won honors for participation in the parade. Winning first place were the young girl scouts of troop 3151, followed by the local Webelo boy scouts, then in third place a patriotic float sponsored by the North Warren Interact Club featuring prom court members Amber Frasier and Abigail Bradley surrounded by young scouts. The float featuring Girl Scout troop 3299 was awarded fourth place.