Story by Lourice Angie
On Mon. May 27, the Village of Warwick, elected officials, dignitaries, local veterans, first responders, local organizations, and community members attended special Memorial Day services honoring those who perished in active military service with a parade and several commemorative services throughout the day.
Memorial Day is considered to be one of the most solemn American holidays. First known to us as “Decoration Day”, it began three years after the end of the Civil War when a former Union general called for a way to remember our fallen U.S. service members. For decades, Americans marked the holiday on May 30. In 1971, the federal government officially designated it on the last Monday in May.
The Memorial Day Parade stepped off at 11 a.m., proceeded down Main St. and Oakland Ave., to the Warwick Cemetery for the first service, then along Galloway Rd. to St. Stephen’s Cemetery for additional services. Members of the Nicholas P. Lesando, Jr. American Legion Post 214 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4662 rode in floats for the parade as people of all ages lined the streets, waved American flags, applauded and took pictures as they passed by.
The Warwick Valley High School Marching Band performed patriotic songs as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and members of the Warwick Police, Fire Department and the Ambulance Corps also made their way along the parade route.
Walter Vaughan, of American Legion Post 214, led the proceedings. A list of the names of local soldiers who have perished was read aloud. Vaughan spoke of his own experiences as a veteran, and explained how it is one’s duty to serve the country in any way possible.
Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard spoke of the importance of remembering our fallen heroes and their ultimate sacrifices.
“We must always honor and remember the sacrifices made by our veterans and how significant they are to our freedom. Let us remember that the seeds of gratitude start small but through the magnified lens of our country and its human spirit become a chorus of strong voices,” said Mayor Newhard.
The ceremonies concluded as the parade made its way to the Warwick Fire Department monument, at the entrance of Veterans Memorial Park on Forester Ave., where community members were invited for refreshments at American Legion Post 214 as well as Fire Station Co. 1.