Flags fluttered, people paused for prayer and a mournful trumpet rang out.
The observances at Veteran’s Park on Monday had all the usual Memorial Day trappings, including the laying of wreaths, gunshot volleys and officials reading solemn words.
But at a distance.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, worked with the Marine Corps League: Electric City Detachment to facilitate the ceremony, which was streamed on the lawmaker’s Facebook page.
Among the attendees was Scott Zido, whose father, Sgt. Lewis L. Zido, served in the U.S. Marines and died in February.
Scott carries a challenge coin in his pocket as a constant reminder.
“He loved the Marine Corps,” he said. “When he was old enough, he joined.”
The elder Zido installed that same level of dedication to public service in his family, where at one point, he and two sons served together on the South Schenectady Fire Department in Rotterdam.
Santabarbara honored the late veteran on Monday with a state Assembly proclamation.
“It’s an honor,” Scott said. I wish he was here to accept it, but I know he’s looking down and knows that his son is happy for him.”
Although the virus has uprooted daily lives and broad elements of society remain hunkered down, it’s still important for the community to come together, said Santabarbara, who served as a U.S. Army reservist from 1990 to 1998.
“Even during these difficult times, our local community can be together [remotely] to pause to show our gratitude and give these men and women the recognition they deserve,” he said.
Vietnam veteran Mike Ryan watched the brief ceremony quietly from the sidelines.
“I came to say thanks to the guys on the wall,” Ryan said, pointing at one of several monuments listing the names of local service members who gave their lives for their country.
Mayor Gary McCarthy joined Santabarbara and county Legislator Philip Fields in delivering comments.
“We’re going through a challenging period right now,” McCarthy said. “Sometimes when we’re in the middle of it, you can’t see the end. But we’ll get through this.”