Monday, May 30, 2016
Legionnaires Out in Force for Memorial Day
The American Legion led or co-sponsored Memorial Day ceremonies across the state and nation Monday as well as over the weekend. They joined in numerous community parades, too.
Past Utica Post 229 Commander Chris Urban was typical of those leading or addressing crowds gathered around flag and wreath-laying ceremonies in honor of the fallen and other veterans no longer with us.
“All veterans share a common bond,” Urban told the crowd at Utica’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument – the first of six stops at monuments across the city.
That bond, he continued, is the oath they take “to defend something greater than themselves – the Constitution of the United States of America.”
“All of us who served in the military take this oath.”
South of Utica in the Village of Oriskany Falls, another speaker talked of the sacrifices that families make in the defense of freedom. In ceremonies at the village park, following an American Legion-led parade, Chenango County Court Attorney Barry Fitzgerald spoke of the absence of local fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, and the what-ifs. Fitzgerald, whose family is involved in the American Legion’s Kelley Phillips Post 569 in Oriskany Falls, has five brothers who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In another example, American Legion Post 20 up north in Plattsburgh attracted nearly 100 people to ceremonies.
“Those who served in our military and, in particular, those who sacrificed their lives deserve our undying gratitude,” News Channel 5 quoted veteran Daniel Kaifetz.
The TV station also quoted local American Legion Auxiliary President Joyce Hinds: “Today is not just a day off from work, a day at the beach, a parade or a family picnic. It’s a time to remember.”
American Legion Riders also were out in force to honor the memory of veterans. In Lima, NY, for example, some 27 members of Riders Chapter 282 participated in a parade from Lima School to the Town Hall, where a service took place.