Plattekill held their Memorial Day Parade on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. at the town hall, moving along Route 32 and ending at the Veterans Memorial at the town park.
Supervisor Joe Croce welcomed everyone to the ceremony, saying that the Memorial Day service, “is to honor all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for all of us.” All of the Veterans in attendance formed a large circle and passed a folded American flag from one to another that was then raised up the flagpole. Kim Rosenmeier sang the Star Spangled Banner.
Rev. Jody Spiak, of the Poughkeepsie United Methodist Church, gave the invocation.
“The Bible says, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ [John 15: 13-17]. That is the gift that has brought us to this place today, the gift of sacrifice that we celebrate as we remember and honor our loved ones. It is not just a gift of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it’s not just a gift of freedom, it’s a gift of love that’s been offered to each of us.” he said. “I hope that the same love that strengthened them to pay such a high price will inspire us. I hope it kindles inside of us a desire to want to make the world better, a world that deserves their sacrifice...We are united in the love of those brave women and men that we remember this day.”
A Presentation of the Wreaths, led by 2019 Grand Marshall Larry Newkirk Sr., USMC and Vietnam Veteran, was followed by a moment of silence as two rings of a bell were done by Life Scout Dustin Colombo. A member of the New Paltz Honor Guard played ‘Taps’ and Bagpiper Grant Nunnally performed ‘Amazing Grace.’
Steven J. Massee, Director of the Veterans Services for Ulster County and a retired Naval Officer, said people are familiar with the motto of the Marine Corps, Semper Fidelis, latin for always faithful.
“How appropriate this motto is at Memorial Day because we as a nation have to be Semper Fi on this hallowed day; always faithful to two things, honor and remembrance,” he said. “We honor the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen who have paid the ultimate price and remembrance to ensure that we never, never forget or take for granted what they died for….Memorial Day is first and foremost a solemn American tradition that honors the sacrifice of life so that others may live in freedom. It is a day for those who died in defense of the ideals, beliefs and values that we hold sacred, particularly freedom and liberty. We Americans are blessed like no other country in the history of the world and it is the sacrifices of our Armed Forces that has given us the security to grow and flourish as a nation.”
Lt. Col. Stuart C. Smith, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, opened with a quote from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
Smith said the men and women who died while serving our country did so, “protecting and defending the freedoms we hold most dear.”
Smith reviewed town records that show men and women from Plattekill have served in the military since the Revolutionary War.
Smith closed with a quote from President John F. Kennedy.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Rosenmeier returned to sing ‘God Bless America.’
Supervisor Croce noted that the Veteran Memorial is nearly finished but everyone is very proud of it. He invited anyone to visit, “to enjoy a moment of peace and remembrance.”
Croce recognized Sis Morse, Chairwoman of the Plattekill Veterans Committee.
“There is nobody who works harder at making this a success, and I know that her sole motivation is to recognize the Veterans because that is such a big part of her life, so a special thank you to Sis,” he said.
Croce closed the ceremony by saying, “God bless all our veterans and God bless America.”
In a subsequent interview Larry Newkirk Sr. said he felt honored to be named this year’s Grand Marshall. He served in the Vietnam War from 1971-73 rising to the rank of Lance Corporal.
“I’m very proud they chose me and it shows the love of the community,” he said.