“It’s a weekend that you don’t have to have a weekend of guilt. You don’t have to have a weekend of celebration. To me, it’s about appreciation,” said Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus at Montgomery’s Memorial Day Ceremony last week.
Locals, officials, veterans and more gathered last Thursday in front of the Town of Montgomery’s Carl L. Helstrom Government Center to remember and honor fallen soldiers.
The ceremony began with a march across the parking lot, including Maybrook Scout Troop 236 and Marching Band, John Olsen from Scout Troop 31, VFW Post 2064 Maybrook and VFW Post 2064 Auxiliary.
Local officials were also in attendance, including Town Supervisor Ron Feller who marched, former supervisor and Assemblyman Brian Maher, Walden Mayor John Ramos, Village of Montgomery Mayor L. Stephen Brescia, Maybrook Mayor Dennis Leahy and Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, many of whom are Veterans.
There were also many local trustees, board members, local police, and town/village employees present.
Following the march, American Legion Post 521 member Bob Santo gave the invocation, and soon after, Vietnam Veteran and former 28-year-long Town Councilman Daniel Dempsey led the Pledge of Allegiance.
There were also a few words given by local officials before the wreath was laid by Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient John Luffman.
“Supervisor Feller told me that some people were complaining that there were too many events. As far as I’m concerned, there are never too many events to honor those who’ve given their lives to this country,” said Brescia.
Neuhaus, former Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, took time to tell a couple stories about soldiers he served with who passed. In one story, he mentioned a young Marine who passed, stating,“This kid was such a passionate, proud American.”
Valley Central Senior Alex O’ Connor sang the National Anthem and God Bless America, and there were also three rounds of a gun salute as well as a military tune played.
Guests were invited to go inside for refreshments after the ceremony.
Following the ceremony was a weekend of local Memorial Day events and parades to honor the holiday.
“This weekend is about those who have made that ultimate sacrifice and remembering their memory,” said Assemblyman Maher.