HAGUE-The annual Hague Memorial Day observance has become a community tradition. Now in its ninth year, the activities draw large crowds.
"The interest and the feelings of the people in Hague are amazing," said Madeline Pelkey. "Everyone comes out. It's a special day in Hague."
The observance is sponsored by the Hague Senior Citizens Club. Pelkey is chairwoman of the organizing committee.
"We (seniors) organize it, plan it," Pelkey said, "but a lot of non-seniors help us. It's a true community event."
Hague will mark Memorial Day on Saturday, May 28.
Throughout the day FunFest will be held in the town park. It'll begin at 10 a.m. and feature DJ Steve Pelkey, Silver Bay craft demonstrations, Fort Ticonderoga re-enactors, a Rotary raffle, a Hague Historical Society display, the Adirondack Crafters white elephant sale, demonstrations by the Champlain Valley K-9 Search & Rescue Team, an exhibit by Up Yonda Farm, food concessions and children's games and face painting.
There will be a presentation by All About Critters of Ticonderoga at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., a performance by Sylvia and Her magic Trunk at 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. and a concert by the Cambridge Band at noon.
The "Memorial Game" will be played all day to raise money in support of the annual observance and Alex's Lemonade Stand, an nationwide campaign, will sell drinks to raise money for children with cancer.
The traditional Memorial Day parade will begin at 2 p.m. at the Hague Community Center on Route 8. It will proceed to the town park.
The parade will feature 90 units, including four marching bands, the Fort Ticonderoga Fife and Drum Corps, floats, clowns and classic cars. Highlighting the parade will be the Marine Corps Leathernecks honor guard and a portable memorial honoring Hague veterans from all wars and local firefighters. As the parade progresses, names of hague veterans will be read aloud. Dan Belden, retiring town supervisor, will serve as parade grand marshal.
"I think it's a pretty good parade for our little town," Pelkey said.
Bob Dedrick, Joyce Barker and John McDonald will serve as parade judges.
Ray Tolar, a World War II veteran from Ticonderoga, will be the featured speaker at the Memorial Day service to honor veterans will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the town park.
Feb. 19, 1945, U.S. Marines landed on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima. The small island, about 10 square miles, was vital to an anticipated American invasion of Japan that would end World War II.
Tolar, then an 18-year-old, and his fellow Marines were told Iwo Jima would be a 3-5 day "warm up" for the invasion of Japan. It turned out to be one of the bloodiest battles in history.
When U.S. Marines finally secured the island on March 16, they had 6,891 dead and more than 18,000 wounded. All but 212 of the 22,000 Japanese defenders on the island died.
Following Tolar's remarks there will be several dedications, the playing of "Taps," closing prayer and the community will be asked to join in singing "America the Beautiful."
"It's very moving," Pelkey said. "You'll see a lot of people crying."
Joining Pelkey on the Memorial Day committee are Mike and Maureen Cherubini, Emily Cobb, Pat Hintze, Joan Steitz, Ray Snyder, John and Jan Hanna, Gladys Graser and Diana Faranick.
"It's a terrific group," Pelkey said of the committee. "Our meetings started in February and we've met every week since. It's a lot of work, but we think we'll have a great day."