Remembering The Fallen
Jamestown residents took the opportunity to remember those who have fallen in service for their country Monday morning.
At 10 a.m., the annual Jamestown Memorial Day parade kicked off with sights and sounds from various local organizations, including the Jefferson Middle School band, the Persell Middle School band, the Jamestown High School Marching Band, Boy Scout Troop 126, Girl Scout Troops 20092, 20044, 20029 and 20051, Soap Box Derby Championship cars, riders from Charlie’s BMX, the Jamestown Municipal Band, Jamestown Shrine Club, the 96th Highlanders Pipe & Drum Band, Blue Star Mothers, Gold Star Mothers, Daughters of the American Revolution and the city of Jamestown Fire Department.
Local officials and legislators also took part in the parade, including state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean; Greg Rabb, Jamestown City Council President; County Executive Vince Horrigan; state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown; and Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi.
After the parade, a ceremony was held at Soldiers Circle in Lakeview Cemetery, with Dan Kell, retired Master Sgt. in the U.S. Marine Corps, as master of ceremony.
Allen Podet, a Navy veteran and rabbi of the Temple Hesed Abraham, provided the invocation for the ceremony.
Elyse Jones, from Jefferson Middle School, led attendees in a recitation of the National Anthem.
Jim Gardner, member of the cemetery board, addressed attendees with the news that the cemetery plans to begin construction on a new area for veterans within cemetery – just inside the Sheldon Gate – in 2015-16, tentatively.
“We’re proud to be able to take care of the veterans and those who have come before us,” Gardner said.
The preamble to the constitution was read by Mike Russell, Sgt. in the U.S. Air Force and president of the United Veterans Council of Jamestown.
Bill Servis, U.S. Army veteran and past president of the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter 865, spoke to attendees about the importance of Memorial Day.
“What Memorial Day means to me – it is to remember everyone who is no longer with us,” Servis said. “It isn’t about sales – picnics are nice, family is great – it’s a day to remember our freedoms.”
Servis also said that talking about people who have served is a way to honor them.
“Talk about people who have served,” Servis said. “When you remember these people, it’s like they’re still with us.”
To conclude, Servis urged attendees to return home and define the words “freedom,” “liberty” and “republic,” to remember how important each is.
Various individuals and organizations took part in the “presentation of wreaths,” including: Molly Sanders, Miss White Clover, and Lisa Weinman, third vice president, on behalf of AMVETS Auxiliary 726; Kaydance Paladino, Miss Veterans Poppy, and retired Sgt. Linda VanBoven, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, on behalf of the United States Veterans Council; Linda Cass, regent, on behalf of the Jamestown Chapter of the D.A.R.; Rebecca Isaac on behalf of D.A.V. Auxiliary; Junior D.A.V. Auxiliary; and Teresi, on behalf of the Jamestown City Council.
“Let’s always remember what this holiday is truly about,” Teresi said. “Take the time to say ‘thank-you’ to someone who has served this country.”
Teresi added that there are many ways people enjoy the holiday – ball games, golfing, parades, services and gatherings – and that it is important to reflect on the holiday’s meaning.
“Don’t just say ‘thank-you,’ take the opportunity to talk to (veterans) and listen to them, hear their stories,” Teresi said. “Remember what this day is about, and have a safe, meaningful and reflective Memorial Day.”
Carrson Widen, from Jefferson Middle School, read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Sydney Robinson, of Jefferson Middle School, read “In Flanders Field.”
Mike Russell read the names of Medal of Honor recipients buried in the cemetery, and the various veteran associations provided reports of members who have passed.
Susan Rowley, president of the Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie New York Chapter 4, read the names of Gold Star heroes.
The Jamestown Municipal Band played multiple patriotic tunes during the event and the 96th Highlanders Pipe & Drum Band played “Amazing Grace.”
Podet gave the benediction, the flag was raised and a three-volley salute was performed by the United States Veterans Council of Jamestown, under the command of Corporal Anthony J. Costanzo.
The ceremony concluded with Sgt. David M. Schwob playing taps.