Daniel Cassidy expects solemnity and patriotism this weekend at Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.
“We have kids read essays, that’s one of the more favored parts of the program,” said Cassidy, cemetery director at Solomon, about Monday’s traditional Memorial Day service. “We have veterans who come out and find friends who are also attending. We have ex-POWs who are here, Gold Star parents.”
Memorial Day services are now underway in the Capital Region. Communities are remembering fallen servicemen and women with salutes, prayers and parades.
The observance at the national cemetery in Schuylerville will begin Saturday at 8 a.m., when volunteers place small American flags on the graves of 11,000 soldiers. For deceased spouses of service personnel, red carnations will be placed near memorial stones.
Monday’s program will begin at 11 a.m. Harold Burke Jr., judge advocate general of Veterans of Foreign Wars, will give the keynote address. Musicians from Shenendehowa United Methodist Church will provide songs.
“It’s not about buying a mattress on sale or having a family barbecue, it’s remembering our veterans,” Cassidy said. “At least that’s what the primary part should be.”
Family gatherings are OK after the ceremonies — Cassidy said he likes cookouts himself. He suggested that people attending the Monday service bring folding chairs and bottled water. They also should be prepared for a crowd — Memorial Day at Solomon has attracted up to 1,000 people in past years.
There will also be crowds in Schenectady on Monday, for the 146th annual service inside Vale Cemetery. Local speakers, a three-rifle salute and “Taps” will be included in the program that begins at 10:30 a.m. It will be followed by proceedings at Schenectady Veterans Park at 11:15.
In Rotterdam, annual wreath-laying ceremonies will be held at Town Hall at 2:30 p.m.
The Schenectady County Veterans Council organizes the Vale and Veterans Park ceremonies. Committee member Bob Becker will
serve as master of ceremonies. He can’t answer why people keep showing up for the services year after year.
“I’m glad they’re coming out, I’m proud they come out,” Becker said. “We have to support our men and women who did so much for this great nation of ours. Without them, I don’t know where the hell we would be.”
Upcoming ceremonies and parades include:
• Village of Scotia’s 86th Memorial Day Parade begins at 6 p.m. on Mohawk Avenue. Navy Commander Vincent J. Perry, commander of the Navy Operational Support Center in Glenville, will serve as grand marshal.
• A Memorial Day ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. at the town of Colonie Veterans Memorial in The Crossings of Colonie.
• In Niskayuna, Lt. Vernon F. Hovey III, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9132, will conduct its annual Memorial Day program at 10 a.m. at the flag pole area of Niskayuna High School. Three graduates of Niskayuna High School who died in Vietnam will be honored. They are: Vernon F. Hovey III, class of 1964; Robert S. Cragin Jr., class of 1962; and Richard W. Starkey, class of 1965.
• Rotterdam’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m., beginning at Curry Road and Warrior Path at Mohonasen High School and proceeding to Rotterdam Town Hall.
• Saratoga Springs’ Memorial Day Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. Marchers will begin on North Broadway and proceed south to Congress Park, where a memorial ceremony will be held.
• Schoharie’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m.
• The Village of Stillwater’s Memorial Day observances will begin at 4 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 6:15 p.m. along Route 4, with Jerry Petronis as grand marshal.
• In Johnstown, a Memorial Day program will begin at 7 p.m. at Sir William Johnson Park on Main Street.
• South Glens Falls’ Memorial Day Parade starts at 6 p.m. at the corner of Main and William streets and continues down Main to the Village Triangle Park.
• Flags will be placed on graves at Saratoga National Cemetery, beginning at 7:30 a.m. More than 11,000 graves will be decorated.
• Ballston Spa’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. The parade will start at South Street with Naval memorial at the bridge and continue on Milton Avenue (Route 50), ending at the Armed Services Memorial on Low Street. The village of Ballston Spa, VFW Post 358 and American Legion Post 234 will serve food in Wiswall Park for anyone attending the parade.
• Lake George’s Memorial Day Parade will form on Westbrook Road and, at 11:30 a.m., proceed north on Canada Street to Shepard Park.
• The town of Florida’s Memorial Day ceremony will begin at 7 p.m.
• Vale Cemetery, Schenectady, 10:30 a.m.
• Veterans’ Park, Schenectady, 11:15 a.m.
• The annual Rotterdam Memorial Day service will be held at Rotterdam Town Hall at 2:30 p.m.
• 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 in Academy Park, across from the New York State Court of Appeals building at Eagle and Pine streets. The grand marshal will be former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings.
• Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Colonie will host “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes.” Bishop of Albany Edward Scharfenberger will celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. Active members of the military and veterans will be invited to participate in the service.
• The city of Watervliet’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. and proceed from the Watervliet High School parking lot to 19th Street, east to Second Avenue, south to 16th Street and end at Veterans’ Memorial Park for a service.
• In Bolton Landing, the Memorial Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Rogers Park. Marchers will proceed to Veterans’ Memorial Park.
• 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.
• The Hagaman Memorial Day Parade will step off at 11 a.m.
• Glens Falls’ Memorial Day Parade begins at 10 a.m. near the Civil War Monument on Glen Street.
• Fonda-Fultonville’s Memorial Day Parade will start at 9 a.m.
• Fort Plain’s Memorial Day observance will begin at 9 a.m. with a wreath dedication at the river bridge. A dedication of fallen soldiers will follow at 9:30. The village parade will begin at 10.
• The town of Glen’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at noon.
• Charleston’s Memorial Day Parade will start at 3 p.m.
• The Village of Hoosick Falls’ parade will begin at 9:30 a.m.
• Parades also will be held in Esperance and Central Bridge.