Remembering the fallen
Hundreds honor military members at Johnstown parade and service
Families gathered on a pleasant late spring evening, some in lawn chairs and others perched on curbs, to take in the five-division parade put on by the city.
“We come to all the parades,” said Jackson Schmidt of Dolgeville, with his family. “This is a special weekend because it’s the start of the summer and we can also honor those who served.”
World War II veteran Alan E. Cole served as the parade’s grand marshal.
The parade featured a variety of floats, emergency vehicles, fire department trucks, veterans groups, local societies, politicians, candidates, pageant winners, sports and theater groups, religious participants, and private businesses.
Beginning on East Main Street, between Chase Street and Jansen Avenue, the last unit lined up on South Chase Street, between East Main Street and East State Street and all units dispersed near the Fulton County Courthouse.
Following the parade, a Memorial Day Service was conducted at the downtown bandshell in Sir William Johnson Park.
Peter O’Lucci served as master of ceremonies of the program in the park.
“Be thankful for our town leaders who put this all together,” O’Lucci said.
Councilman-at-Large Craig Talarico, M/Sgt NYANG (retired), served as the main speaker for the ceremony, telling those assembled, “Memorial Day is about honoring those who lost their lives.”
“Military families are something special, aren’t they?” said Talarico.
But, he said it is hard to define how a family must feel when they lose a loved one in war.
Talarico said people should barbecue this weekend and enjoy themselves. But he said Americans must also remember the best way to thank a veteran is to protect the service persons still on duty.
Mayor Vern Jackson told the gathering that former President John F. Kennedy said the “highest appreciation” for a service member was to live their words. He said service members have reacted in different ways to praise over the years – including Vietnam War veterans who are “touched” compared to today’s veterans who face a certain “disconnect.”
“Warriors are selfless preachers,” he said. “They fight as a team and a family.”
The “Pledge of Allegiance” was led by John Morris, U.S. Naval Reserve (retired).
Musical selections during the service were provided by the Johnstown High School Marching Band and Schenectady Pipe & Drum.
Boy Scout Troop 104 presented the wreath.
The Johnstown Police Department Honor Guard offered a three-shot salute.
The invocation and benediction was provided by Pastor Robert Walter of the First Baptist Church of Johnstown.
Gloverville’s Memorial Day Parade is set for Monday at 9:30 a.m.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.