Story by Kristina Hoti
On a warm and sunny Memorial Day, Mon., May 27, the Village of Florida and American Legion Post 1250 held a parade and ceremony to honor those who sacrificed all in service to their country.
Marching in the parade were New York State Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, County Legislator Paul Ruszkiewicz, Town Supervisor Michael P. Sweeton, Mayor Daniel Harter, Village Justice Richard Shuback, Town Councilmen Mickey Shuback and Jim Gerstner, and Village Trustees Tom Fuller, Brian Slattery, John Barczak, and Craig Olejniczak, as well as local veterans, Village of Florida and Town of Warwick Police Departments, Warwick Ambulance Corps, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownies, Little League, Soccer Teams, and the Walker Valley Marching Band. Boy State Candidate Anthony Pellegrini carried the POW flag in the parade.
“May the ceremonies of today deepen our reverence for all departed comrades,” said American Legion Commander Fray Fuller as he welcomed the large crowd assembled at the monument in front of S.S. Seward Institute.
Golden Hill Elementary School held an essay contest called “What the Flag Means to Me,” and S.S. Seward Institute held a contest entitled, “What America Means to Me.” The winning students were present and read their essays aloud.
Maeve Conlon, from Golden Hill read her essay entitled “Gold Glory.” She spoke of Betsy Ross and the creation of the U.S. flag and the sacrifices of those who serve the public good, likening them to superheroes.
“They put their own lives in harm’s way, to protect us…Every single military person, firefighter, policeman, and so many more people who help others is, without a doubt, a real superhero,” Maeve wrote.
Assemblyman Brabenec addressed the group, saying, “We have so many freedoms that so many people around the world do not have, and that’s because of these brave men and women…that gave their lives to protect our freedoms every day.” He reminded the group to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6th.
Supervisor Sweeton said, “It’s very heartening to see everyone here, but especially the young people, because you are the future of this nation.”
Mayor Harter spoke of the sacrifice of the men and women that we honor on Memorial Day, and their “determination, selflessness, courage, and were ready to lay down their lives so that other people in this great nation could live in peace.”
Allyson Frank led the group in the National Anthem, and Girl Scout Roseann Pagan, age 10, placed a wreath of flowers in front of the monument. A gun salute and closing prayer from the American Legion Chaplain concluded the service, and all were welcome for refreshments in the American Legion.