May rites lead to Memorial Day
Region has drumbeat of events to honor service members
CAPITAL REGION Spring means Memorial Day.
And Memorial Day means flags, red poppies on shirts, wreaths on graves, parades and tributes to soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in military service.
In the Capital Region, bunches of services have been planned. Most will be held next weekend — Memorial Day weekend — but some communities will begin observances early.
Traditional events will be held in cemeteries. On Memorial Day, Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Niskayuna will be among Roman Catholic cemeteries all over the U.S. participating in the national “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes” ceremony. Both living and deceased military veterans will be honored.
Albany Bishop Howard J. Hubbard will celebrate Mass at 9 a.m., and active members of the military and veterans are invited to participate in the service. Maureen McGuinness, family services manager at Most Holy Redeemer, said a tribute board is now in place by the cemetery pond.
“They can write down a memory, a prayer and intention of their loved ones,” McGuinness said, adding this year is the first that the cemetery has conducted a service and tribute board.
“It’s a good way for us to unite with Catholic Cemeteries across the country in a meaningful way to remember and pray for loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice,” she said, “and it’s also a way to recognize and involve our veterans and active military who continue to serve our country.”
In Schenectady, the city’s 145th annual Memorial Day observance will start at 10:30 a.m. at Vale Cemetery on the May 27 holiday. The program is sponsored by Schenectady veterans organizations, including the Marine Corps League, American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS, the Disabled American Veterans, the Fleet Reserve, the Polish American Veterans and the Jewish War Veterans.
The ceremony will include a massing of colors, tributes to service members, remarks by city and county leaders and the laying of wreaths and flowers. Participants will include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Gold Star Mothers and the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at Schenectady High School.
At 11 a.m., there also will be a ceremony at Schenectady Veterans Park, at Nott Terrace and State and Albany streets.
Another big event will be held Memorial Day at Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery. Lt. Col. Christine Lennard, commander of the 109th Force Support Squadron at Stratton Air National Guard Base, will give the keynote address.
This year, services at Saratoga National Cemetery will begin at 11 a.m. — the first time the event will be held during morning hours.
Music will be performed by Shenendehowa United Methodist Church; essays will be read by students from Schenectady’s Brown School.
Other Memorial Day events follow:
u Mont Pleasant’s observance will be held at 6 p.m. at the Mont Pleasant Memorial at the corner of Chrisler Avenue and Van Velsen Street. Broderick Fuller Nekola Memorial Post 1005, American Legion, will host the event. Technical Sgt. Kevin Zenner of the New York Air National Guard will give the keynote address.
u The Polish American Veterans organization of Schnectady will hold its 63rd annual field mass at the Veterans Grotto of St. Adalbert's Cemetery at 5:45 p.m. In case of bad weather, the service will be held at the Church of St. Adalbert at 6:30 p.m.
u Scotia’s 85th annual Memorial Day Parade will begin at 6:10 p.m. on Mohawk Avenue. Navy Cmdr. Vincent J. Perry, commander of the Navy Operational Support Center in Glenville, will be the grand marshal.
The parade will be followed by a service at the village’s veterans’ memorial at the Scotia Village Library on Mohawk Avenue.
u Rotterdam’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m., and will start at Curry Road and Warrior Path at Mohonasen High School.
u Saratoga Springs will begin its annual parade at 6:30 p.m. Marchers will start at North Broadway at Ellsworth Jones Place and proceed south to Congress Park.
u Niskayuna’s annual Memorial Day service will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Niskayuna High School, 1626 Balltown Road. Three Niskayuna High graduates — Lt. Vernon F. Hovey III, Pfc. Richard Starkey and Lt. Robert S. Cragin, who all died in Vietnam — will be honored.
u The Village of Stillwater’s Memorial Day observances will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a service at Monument Park, behind Stillwater American Legion Post 490 at 1 American Legion Road, off Lake Street. The village parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. along Route 4, with John Mehan as grand marshal.
u Flags and red carnations will be placed on graves at Saratoga National Cemetery, beginning at 8 a.m. More than 11,000 graves will be decorated.
u Ballston Spa’s parade will begin at 9 a.m. on Milton Avenue. It will be sponsored by American Legion Post 234 and VFW Post 358.
u The Lake George Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Marchers will proceed along Beach Road and up Canada Street in the village of Lake George.
MONDAY, MAY 27
u The annual Albany Memorial Day parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Personnel will begin marching at Partridge Street and Central Avenue and proceed east on Central to Washington Avenue to North Hawk Street. A ceremony honoring veterans will follow on the west side of the state Capitol. The grand marshal will be Col. John Edwards, a Niskayuna resident and an Army veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
u Watervliet’s parade will begin at 10 a.m. at 12th Avenue and 19th Street, proceed down 19th Street to 2nd Avenue and then to Memorial Park.
u In Bolton Landing, the parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Rogers Park. It will proceed to Veterans’ Memorial Park.
u Halfmoon’s annual ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the American Legion Pavilion, 275 Grooms Road. A color guard, rifle salute and playing of “Taps” will highlight proceedings.
u The 53rd annual Rotterdam Memorial Day service will be held at 2:15 p.m. at the Town Hall Monument. Angelo Santabarbara, commander of Rotterdam AMVETS Post 35, will address the crowd.
u The USS Slater, a restored destroyer escort ship that served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, will be open to the public for guided tours during Memorial Day weekend.
A brief ceremony to commemorate Memorial Day will be held Monday at 8:30 a.m.
The ship is located on the Hudson River in downtown Albany, just south of the Dunn Memorial Bridge. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children.