During Warrensburg Memorial Day ceremonies held May 27, local service personnel, veterans and citizens salute the flag as ‘Taps’ is played to honor departed soldiers.
One of the largest crowds recorded in the last 30 years gathered May 27 to participate in Memorial Day ceremonies and pay respects to those who sacrificed their lives on behalf of our nation. Preceding the memorial services was the annual parade — a display of pageantry and pride, with dozens of people of all ages marching up Elm and Hudson streets.
Paraders included firefighters in full dress uniform with their antique fire equipment, emergency medical responders with their trucks, plus dozens of scouts and young ball players.
The Warrensburg High School Marching Band, accompanied by a flag-twirling corps, offered tuneful selections.
Leading the procession, as he has for about a quarter century, was Army veteran William Lamy. Directly behind him was a contingent of the new local American Legion Riders group — Scott and Michelle Bedell, Richard Ovitt and Brett Moulton astride motorcycles. Parade Grand Marshal for 2013 was veteran Thomas Lloyd of Thurman, who served in the Army Air Force from Aug. 1947 to 1951.
Town Supervisor and Fire Co. President Kevin Geraghty offered the keynote address.
“Today is a time of remembrance and reflection on our military heroes who answered the call of duty and served out country with distinction,” he said, recounting the many conflicts since World War II. “Today is a time to extend tributes of thanks and share collective memories of these troops, as people gather here — to reflect on the valor of the fallen and the bond of freedom that unites Americans.”
He said these departed military personnel protected our way of life.
“It’s easy for us to forget the pain and suffering many have gone through, but at least today we can take a minute to thank a veteran for their service to our country,” he said. “These brave men and women, your family members, neighbors, coworkers and many more will not be forgotten and will remain forever in our hearts.”
Event emcee American Legion Post 446 Adjutant Gene Pierce said U.S. citizens should remember the soldiers’ sacrifice, throughout each year.
“Every day should be Memorial Day,” he said. “Honoring all those who gave their lives for our nation — so we can complain and do the things we do — with the Freedom of Speech we enjoy,” he said.
Boy Scouts of local Troop 100 participated in the ceremonies. Scout MacKenzie Blydenburgh led the Pledge of Allegiance. Troop members Thomas Birkholz and Brandon Bailey read patriotic essays.
Navy Veteran Andy Sprague read the names of the soldiers from Warrensburg who died in combat. Following a rifle salute, Allison Lanfear, a sophomore at Warrensburg High School, played taps on her trumpet. Earlier in the day, Sprague and Lanfear had participated in another ceremony to honor those who served in the U.S. Navy, Merchant Marine and Coast Guard. Shrouded in mist, the several dozen veterans and citizens had tossed white carnations into the Schroon River to pay respects.
At the later service, Warrensburg High School vocal director James Corriveau sang a stirring rendition of the national anthem, and led the crowd in singing “God Bless America.”
Ladies of the Warrensburg VFW Post 4821 Auxiliary and American Legion Post 446 Auciliary laid wreaths at the veterans’ memorial.
Carson Parker of the American Legion read the names of those veterans who passed away since last Memorial Day, asking the crowd to remember them for their service to the nation — Cliff Dureau, Harold Cooper, Josephine Cooper, Jerry Sebald, Vernon Winch Jr., Patsy Brooks, Alfred Leslie Olden, Frank “Red” Sherman, Eric Fagnano, Charles DeVitto, James Morwood, Thomas A. Van Salisbury Sr., Robert A. Jones Sr., Earle Dibble, Edgar Hayes, Joseph Nemec Sr., John Engle, Robert Mosher, Rev. Charles Metzger, Frank Soldwedel and Charles Altman.
Holy Cross Episcopal Church Pastor Thomas Pettigrew offered the invocation and benediction.
“May the deeds of those who have served our country through the years provide us with daily inspiration,” he said.
In concluding the ceremony, Pierce noted that the ranks of local World War II veterans were thinning quickly, but he appreciated how townspeople paid their respects to those who served.
“I am proud to be from a town that honors their veterans,” he said, looking at the crowd.