FULTON, NY – Dozens of veterans, community members and veterans service organizations traveled to various locations throughout Fulton to honor the nation’s fallen.
Beginning at St. Mary’s Cemetery, a small ceremony was held at each of four locations including Mount Adnah Cemetery, the War Memorial, and finally, Veterans Park.
At each location, a wreath was placed below a flag at half-staff. On it, veterans of various armed forces took turns placing a red flower symbolizing remembrance, a blue flower symbolizing eternity, a white flower symbolizing purity and the emblem of our nation complete with a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”
Fulton Veterans Council President Garry Visconti led the crowd through the culminating ceremony at Veterans Park.
Veteran of the Year Bob LaRock led the crowd through the Pledge of Allegiance while the whole crowd joined together for the singing of the National Anthem.
Visconti then pointed out a new monument at Veterans Park that lists the Fulton residents that lost their life serving in the Persian Gulf War, Kenneth Haines and Nathan Wall.
Nathan Wall’s parents, John and Denise, were able to attend the ceremony that honored their son and all fallen heroes.
“We know it’s very, very difficult for you to be with us today,” former director of the Oswego County Veterans Services Agency, Donna Kestner told them. “Our hearts are with you. Thank you very much, and we’re very sorry.”
And though their loss is immeasurable, Fulton’s annual Memorial Day ceremony stands to ensure these heroes are never forgotten and always honored.
“Today is Memorial Day 2018, a day we set aside to remember our fallen heroes. The families and friends of these heroes remember every day. There is an empty seat at their dinner table, there is an emptiness at their holiday celebrations, their memories are now in pictures or photo albums or on their computer, they have a folded burial flag on a case on a shelf. We can share their sorrow, but we can not know their grief. We can and we must show them what their loss means to us. Their loved one paid the price for the freedoms we have and we will honor them by remembering,” Kestner said.
Even small gestures can be a sign or remembrance, such as placing your hand over your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance or the playing of the National Anthem. “It’s a small gesture, but it carries a big, big message. It tells us that you remember,” she said.
Even while celebrating the holiday weekend with parades and barbeques, Visconti reminded us that the reason behind the holiday is not much of a celebration.
“Let’s try to remember that today is a solemn day, and not really a joyful day. Try to remember the people that have passed,” Visconti said.
Jamie Hamlin, a 12-year Navy veteran and the current Director of Oswego County Veterans Services Agency reminded everyone to take a moment to reflect on the reason behind Memorial Day by taking time to remember our nation’s heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
“Those individuals who served in our nation’s great military knew there was a chance they may never come home. We are here today because they didn’t,“ she said.