It’s heard and repeated at every Memorial Day ceremony, “that we should consider every day as Memorial Day and always remember those who served.” Sunday evening, the Town of Florida community took that message to heart and gathered to honor and remember our veterans and fallen heroes. The ceremony took place at the Veteran’s National War Memorial Park at the Florida Town Hall complex, Sunday afternoon on Fort Hunter Road.
“What a fitting tribute,” said Congressman Paul Tonko about the ceremony and the people who attended. “A sense of community it personifies.”
Tonko was the first speaker called to the podium by master of ceremonies Joe Inglese. New York State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Amsterdam Superintendent of Schools Thomas Perillo, retired Major Daniel Colvin, United States Marine Corps., and retired US Army Specialist E4 David Anderson with canine veteran Dakota all would follow to speak of the importance of Memorial Day.
“This is the essence of Memorial Day weekend,” Tonko said as he addressed the increasing crowd numbering in the hundreds. “Honoring the women and men who addressed our freedoms. An incredible sense of patriotism. They are the greatness of a nation. The greatest tribute we can offer them in what is a moment of decoration, it’s best to decorate their graves, decorate their memories by embracing the freedoms for which they fought.”
The Reverend Lawrence Decker gave the invocation and blessed the parks World War Two monument, Vietnam War monument, what is perhaps the nations only War Dog memorial, and the piece of World Trade Center Tower 2 that is now part of the park. Boy Scout Troop 41 led the Pledge of Allegiance. A plaque was placed in the walkway to honor Korean War veteran John Jacobs.
“Their unwavering devotion inspires us all,” Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk said. “They are the greatness of America.” Tkaczyk went on to thank the Town of Florida Memorial Day Committee for the dedication of the park.
Assemblyman Santabarbara said, “Let it remind us of our exceptional fortune to live in the United States of America.”
The special guest speaker for the ceremony was retired United States Marine Corp. (USMC) Major Daniel Colvin who recognized the sense of community by those in attendance.
“I want to thank everyone for being here,” said Colvin. “It speaks volumes for your sense of patriotism and sense of honor.”
Colvin, reminded everyone that the freedoms we have came at a price, noting those who made the ultimate sacrifice since World War One.
“If you lived outside this country, it doesn’t take long to realize how great this country is,” said Colvin.
“That freedom has a cost. That cost is the blood of 1.3 million Americans over the years. It’s right to give thanks to all the veterans who served through the years.”
The laying of the wreaths was done by Miss VFW Shelby Wadsworth, Assemblyman Santabarbara, and Al Mancini. Wadsworth joined Town of Florida Supervisor Eric Mead, Inglese, and US Army retired Dave Anderson, accompanied by Dakota in reading the list of area veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. After reading the names of those who sacrificed in the Vietnam War, Anderson, who served in the US Army from 1962-1965 and endowed the War Dog Memorial, urged the crowd not to forget the canine veterans like Dakota who served alongside soldiers in many conflicts.
Luciano Loffredo played taps, as veterans fired volleys in a salute to our heroes. The ceremony closed and the community took time to remember as many visited each of the memorials at the park.