Area towns celebrate Memorial Day

By Jaime Thomas

Veterans, bands, music and prayer will all be part of the Granville and Hartford Memorial Day Parade festivities next Monday, May 27.

At 8 a.m. the American Legion will start off the day with a laying of the wreath ceremony at Granville High School. An hour later, they will do a ceremony at Elmwood Cemetery in Middle Granville at 9 a.m. followed by a similar one at Mettowee Cemetery at 9:30 a.m., parade organizer Frank Riegert said.

Then the main event starts. At 10 a.m. the parade will step off from the area of the cemetery and will stop at the Veterans Memorial Clock to lay a wreath. In the parade will be members of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and both the groups auxiliaries, as well as the sons of both clubs. There will also be boy scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts, the junior and senior high school bands and more.

The group will continue down Main Street from the clock and stop at the bridge over the Mettowee River for a ceremony to honor Navy men who were lost at sea.

Jerry Austin, who is leading and emceeing the parade, said there will be a laying of the wreaths at the bridge, along with a prayer and a gun firing. The bands will also play “Taps” and the Sailors’ Hymn.

Next the parade will make its way to Veterans Park, where the band will play the “Star-Spangled Banner” and do another laying of the wreaths and prayer.

Austin will then introduce the guest speaker, Mike Pietryka, who is a retired commander who was with the Navy for 20 years as an aviator.

“I think he will be good as a guest speaker; I’m looking forward to hearing what he has to say,” Austin said. He also said Mayor Brian LaRose and Town Supervisor Matt Hicks will have an opportunity to speak as well.

The ceremony will finish with “America the Beautiful.”

Those interested in participating should call Jerry Austin at 802-645-1951 or Frank Riegert at 642-1522.

In Hartford, the town’s Memorial Day parade, which is its only parade for the year, will start on Monday, May 27 at 6 p.m.

The parade route starts at Hartford Central School and marches up Main Street to the town barn.

World War II Veteran Earl Morrow will be the Grand Marshall of the parade. Also on hand will be President Lincoln reenactor Phil Jessen. Additionally, Hartford’s Civil War Enlistment Center on Main Street, which is the last one remaining in New York state, will be open to visitors.

Organizers are also asking spectators to bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the food pantry.

Earlier in the day, the Hartford Methodist Church will also be offering a take-out-only chicken barbeque dinner, with a food, plant and craft sale from 1 to 5 p.m. Dinner includes a half chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, a roll, potato salad and a can of soda or bottled water. The cost is $9 for adults, $4.50 for children under 12 and $5 for just a half chicken.

Those who are interested in participating in the parade should contact Jennifer Livingston at 926-8572 or Lori Fleming at 232-7819.

Wells, meanwhile, will hold its annual Memorial Day Parade on Friday, May 24 in coordination with the Granville Legion and VFW.

The parade will begin at 10:25 a.m. at the school, and Marchers will walk to the village green where they will conduct a ceremony of patriotic poems and songs. The parade will continue to the bridge on South Street with a brief ceremony of flowers and a moment of silence. All are invited to participate or observe as the school honors “brave heroes.”

Salem will have a parade as well, on Monday, May 27 at 10 a.m. Ceremonies begin in Shushan at 9 a.m. with American Legion members followed by a service at the courthouse.

Marchers will line up at 9:30 a.m. at the courthouse, and Legion members will lead the parade, followed by the high school band, boy scouts and cub scouts. The groups will proceed to the Archibald Street Bridge and Revolutionary Cemetery, where services will be held.

The parade will continue to Evergreen Cemetery, where a service will be conducted at the Civil War Monument, and it will then proceed to the Catholic cemetery, where services will conclude.

Other festivities

To kick off Memorial Day weekend, students at Granville High School will be putting on a program in the gym for all veterans or anyone who is interested on Friday, May 24 at 8 a.m.

“Our kids take really good care of us; we’d love to have everyone involved,” said VFW leader Roy Rathbun. He said the students will recognize some veterans and also the holiday as a whole.

An hour later, the Veterans of Foreign War of Granville will be putting flags on the graves in the Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Those interested in joining should meet at the VFW at 9 a.m.