HONORING THE FALLEN
Memorial Day ceremony keeps alive the memory of those who gave everything for freedom
ONEIDA, N.Y. >> For several years, Lee Manwarren would visit the grave of a friend’s father to lay a flag on the veteran’s resting place. It was an old custom his friend had always loved. This year, his friend’s grave lay beside the father’s, and was a potent reminder of why Manwarren and others celebrate Memorial Day: So that no soldier is forgotten.
“Today we honor those, now gone, who made the cause of America their supreme choice,” Mayor Leo Matzke on Friday as he welcomed the hundreds gathered at Triangle Park in celebration of Memorial Day. “The graves at Oneida and across our country, now decorated by flags, remind us that freedom is not free. The military veteran resting there lived supporting the lives and values that create the backbone of our nation, and it is our solemn duty to remember them and to keep these values alive so that their lives will not be lost in vain nor go unremembered, for their lives were not committed to conflict or to death, but to our freedoms and to our safety.”
“Our gathering is just one small spark in the flame of pride that burns across this nation this weekend and everyday. It’s not a lot, but it’s one small way we can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in freedom,” said U.S. Army
“It is our solemn duty to remember them and to keep these values alive so that their lives will not be lost in vain nor go unremembered, for their lives were not committed to conflict or to death, but to our freedoms and to our safety.”
— Oneida Mayor Leo Matzke
Staff Sgt. Rudolph Closs.
Active service members and veterans from all parts of the military gathered before the veterans memorial under steely skies to remember those who died in service to the country. Among them were Abraham Lincoln re-enactor John Baylis, who read the Gettysburg Address; Gold Star mother Vicky Arnold, who with Scott Arnold raised the American flag asHoly Cross Academy student Gloria Twal sang the national anthem; and theMarine Corps League, who placed the soldier’s cross in front of the memorial.
Members of the Oneida American Legion and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War placed ceremonial wreaths at the foot of the monument, upon which is inscribed “Dedicated to the noble deeds of the men and women of this community who served their country in war to preserve the freedom of humanity for ages to come.”
North Broad Street Elementary students joined the ceremony, signs slung across their shoulders bearing the names of Oneida’s fallen soldiers from the Civil War through Afghanistan as local veterans read the roll call of thedead. And Allison Winn of Holy Cross Academy gave the Youth Salute to Veterans.
“As Americans, may we never forget those who fought for our freedom and may we celebrate their lives and the lives of those who have truly made America the land of the free and the home of the brave,” said Closs. “Truly no American has loved us more than the service members who have offered their last breath to secure that which we cherish. Underneath everything we hold dear is the blood of those whom we owe our deepest respect and fidelity. If you stop and listen closely, not with your ears but with your heart, you can hear the whisper of the army of the dead as they leave behind a life on earth worthy of honor, remembrance and gratitude. They unceasingly utter ‘I love you to death’.”
“Let this Memorial Day be a beginning of a new commitment, a celebration of a rebirth in both our country and our city, and let us take the weekend, let us celebrate the memory of those who gave everything to keep our country free,” Matzke said.
UpcomingMemorialDay observances include:
The town of Stockbridge, Munnsville Fire Department, Stockbridge Ruritans and Munnsville American Legion Post 54 will coordinate the Memorial Day Parade. The parade is scheduled for Sunday, May 26, at 9 a.m. and will start at St. Therese Church in Munnsville and end at Carlon Field. Memorial service will be held following the parade at Stockbridge Park at 10 a.m. From noon to 3 p.m., Matt and Thelma Chase will be playing at Carlon Field Pavillion. At 9 p.m., fireworks by Majestic Fireworks can be seen from Carlon Field.
The Sherrill American Legion Post 230 works with theCityof Sherrill tocoordinate the Memorial Day parade. The parade is scheduled for Monday, May 27. The lineupwill take place in front of the Sherrill CommunityActivity Center at 139 E. Hamilton Ave. at 8:30 a.m. The paradewill start at 8:45 a.m. at Sherrill Road and East Hamilton Avenue and continue to Memorial Park on Sherrill Road, across from City Hall. After the parade, there will be a ceremony inMemorial Park and an open house at the Sherrill American Legion.
The Durhamville (ANM) Veterans Club will hold its annual Memorial Day services on Monday, May 27 at 9:30 a.m. A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the World War I memorial in Durhamville. This will be followed by a Memorial Day service in front of the Durhamville Veterans Clubhouse.
The annual Vernon Center Memorial Day Parade will begin on Monday, May 27 at 9 a.m. at the Vernon Center Volunteer Fire Department. Following the parade, there will be a memorial service held at the Vernon Center Cemetery.
The Vernon Memorial Day Parade will be held on Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m., starting at the Vernon American Legion Post 404. Following the parade, there will be a commemoration celebration for the 100th birthday of the American Legion.
Rick Warham of the American Legion Oneida Post 169places a wreath during the city of Oneida’s annual Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 24, 2019.
The city of Oneida holds its annual Memorial Day parade on Friday, May 24, 2019.
Residents leave remembrance flowers in front of the veterans memorial in Triangle Park during the city of Oneida’s annual Memorial Day ceremony on Friday, May 24, 2019.