by Emily Dulanski, Susan Campbell and Terry Duffy
Memorial Day weekend gives us an opportunity to remember and honor our veterans, both fallen and living. Many organizations have services or ceremonies open to the public for this occasion. Among these are the Lake Ontario VFW Post 313 in Youngstown, Lewiston VFW Post 7487, the Martin F. Jennings American Legion Post 836 in Wilson and the American Legion Post 1451 in Wheatfield.
•The Lake Ontario VFW Post 313 in Youngstown will have its observance at Old Fort Niagara, beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday, and followed by a reception at the Post.
"We have a service at the 1812 cemetery at Old Fort Niagara every year," said Gary Zanardi, Post adjutant. "It's really the only plot of ground in Youngstown where veterans are buried."
•On Monday at 11 a.m., representatives of Lewiston's VFW and American Legion posts, and area elected officials will be participating in a Memorial Day Parade on Center Street and a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial at Academy Park.
•Also taking place on Monday at 10 a.m. is a ceremony sponsored by the Martin F. Jennings American Legion Post 836. It will be held at the Greenwood Veterans Memorial Park on Park Road in Wilson.
"Our guest speaker is Kyle Andrews, Niagara County treasurer," said Gary Pettit, Post commander. "Julie Rohring will be singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner' and the Thomas Marks Elementary School chorus ... under the direction of Tammy Rohring, (Julie's mother) ... will be performing." Post 836 will dedicate their flagpole to Lt. Col. Daniel E. Albright. The ceremony will be held in honor of Floyd "Red" Clark, who died March 6.
•Remember "Soldiers Through the Ages," at Old Fort Niagara from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30.
"This is the only time of year when we have what's called a timeline event, which depicts more than one time period," said Robert Emerson, executive director.
With a wide focus on the time period of the French and Indian War through World War II, this event will feature displays of military vehicles, tactical and weapons demonstrations, reenactments and special tours.
"You'll see everything from muskets to machine guns at this event," said Emerson. "It's been running for the past 10 years ... and involves 50 to 60 volunteers."
While this event takes place at Old Fort Niagara, it is not just intended for the fallen veterans of the fort.
"The educational program focuses on Fort Niagara soldiers," said Emerson. "But the meaning of the event is more to honor all who serve their country."
•The American Legion Post 1451 in Wheatfield will honor veterans on Monday, at 11 a.m. at the town monument, located at the Wheatfield Highway Garage, 6680 Ward Road.
There will also be a rifle salute and a commander playing taps among other festivities. The ceremony will be followed by a chowder reception at the Post, located at 6525 Ward Road.
•The Town of Niagara Lions and Lioness Clubs will be hosting their annual Memorial Day ceremony, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Witmer Road Cemetery on Witmer Road in the Town of Niagara. It will include the placing of a memorial wreath next to the monument by the presidents of the Lions and Lioness Clubs and the raising of the flag by the Western Region Corps of Cadets. The color guard will be provided by the Conrad Kania Detachment of the Marine Corps League, which also will be performing a live gun salute and the playing of taps.
•In Niagara Falls, honor veterans at 10 a.m. Saturday at the parade from the City Market on Pine Avenue to Hyde Park.
•VA Western New York Healthcare System invites the public to participate in the Memorial Day observance at its Buffalo hospital, 3495 Bailey Ave., at 1 p.m. Sunday in Freedom Hall (Room 301). Keynote speaker will be Thomas Konopka, director, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 77.
Even if you don't attend a local Memorial Day weekend observance, the VA is inviting everyone to participate in a moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. Monday, a time when many Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. It is intended to be a unifying act of remembrance for Americans of all ages.The tradition of Memorial Day dates to 1868 when it was established as an event in May to clean and ornament the graves of fallen soldiers. It was first called Decoration Day.