It was a busy weekend of parades and commemorations across the region. At a crowded American Legion Post in Plattsburgh, people spent time on Memorial Day honoring those who have served in all the nation’s wars.
Plattsburgh’s military history dates back to the beginning of the country with a military presence in the area since the Revolutionary War. Each year veterans, their families and service organization members gather at the American Legion Post 20 for a solemn commemoration of servicemembers past and present.
After the posting of the colors, both the U.S. and Canadian national anthems are sung. Veterans are then honored with a wreath laid in remembrance of conflicts fought by the U.S. "We have the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Lebanon and Granada, Panama, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Afghanistan, MIA-POW, Gold Star Mothers, Disabled Veterans, Tuskeegee Airmen. Memorail Day is not just today but we should remember every day."
Tom Nagowski: “Please stand.”
Outside guns fire the traditional salute and then Taps is heard.
“It’s something that we do not want to forget what happened in all the previous wars.” Royal Canadian Legion members from Hemmingford, Quebec attended the commemoration. Branch President Karl Kramell: “After the First World War when the peace treaty was signed we thought that was the end of all wars. The same thing again after the Second World War and then after that the Korean War and we’re still in conflicts today. So we have not learned our lesson, or some countries have not learned our lessons yet. And it’s very important for us to remember our fallen comrades. And more importantly is that we teach our children.”
Town of Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman grew up living with his grandfather, a veteran of the Korean War. “Us here in this present moment have a moral and ethical responsibility to do everything that we can to make sure that our veterans, our men and women, are served well and with honor when they arrive home. Because it is the legacy of those that laid down everything that they had for this country to protect us that we must serve.”
Guest speaker U.S. Army Major Cindy Eckhoff is a retired nurse. “We each have our missions and we follow the orders given knowing that we may not come home to our families. We do not know them all but we owe them all so that we can be free.”
The Town of Plattsburgh is in the process of creating a battlefield commemorative gateway linking sites from the American Revolution and subsequent wars. It will feature a Vietnam Memorial Park.