This year Memorial Day was like no other due to the impact of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Though the towns of Marlborough and Lloyd did not hold their typical parades, they still honored those who fought and died for the United States with smaller, drive-by events.
In Marlborough, representatives of the Town, the Fire Department and many area businesses gathered at the Milton Fire House and at 1pm on Sunday formed a caravan that drove south on Route 9W to the town’s southern border and returned to their starting point.
On Monday, members of the Town of Lloyd government, the American Legion Hall, the Ladies Auxiliary and the Highland Fire and Police Departments visited several places in town in honor of those who were killed in action. Their procession ended up at Town Hall where a wreath was placed before a small monument that honors the women of the Town of Lloyd who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States.
The ceremony opened with a 21 gun salute.
Christine Giangrasso, of the Ladies Auxiliary, spoke of the importance of Memorial Day.
“Today we honor our Veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country. We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve our freedoms, our safety and our country’s heritage for all of us. Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, the sacrifices they’ve made for the many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression. We respect them, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them and we pray that you will watch over these special people and bless them with peace and happiness, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”
Supervisor Fred Pizzuto read portions of an essay that pointed out that Memorial Day is much more than a day off or to host a barbecue.
“It’s a special day to commemorate our lost heroes. Memorial Day is a day when we remember and we honor the soldiers who fought for our country, especially those who died in battle,” he said.
Pizzuto said just after the Civil War people began to decorate the graves of those who were lost in that conflict.
“Waterloo, New York is said to be the first place where a town gathered to honor the memory of those who were lost,” he said. “In 1868 Gen. John Alexander Logan, of the Union Army, recommended making a specific day for everyone to mourn and remember those lost soldiers together. He chose May 30, 1868 and called it Decoration Day. Although it was not an official holiday at that time, many businesses closed and continued to do so year after year.”
Pizzuto said after WWI the day was changed to honor all of those who were killed in the Great War and later it included those who died in any war, eventually becoming known as Memorial Day.
In 1968, exactly 100 years after the original commemoration, Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act, making Memorial Day a federal holiday and decided that it would be observed on the last Monday in May.
Lloyd American Legion Chaplain Joseph Cooper offered a prayer.
“We give you thanks Lord for all of those, our comrades, who laid down their lives in the service of our country. May they rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon them. May the good work of seeking justice for the oppressed and peace for all mankind be rewarded..and may their sacrifices not be in vain. May we never fail to remember the awesome cost of the freedoms that we enjoy.”
American Legion Commander Mike Schlomer said he comes from a 4th generation of military members.
“There is a term in the military that courage is not a lack of fear, it’s going ahead even though you are afraid anyway,” he said. “Right now we are in what is known as a silent war, everybody is locked in their house, people are suffering silently but I want to say thank you. I appreciate the heartfelt feelings of the fire and the police departments and the people coming out of their houses shows a lot about how much this town appreciates us,” he said.