“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.”
Every year, this quote comes to mind as I begin to prepare for the numerous Memorial Day ceremonies being held throughout our town. This anonymous quote gives voice to the true meaning behind the holiday weekend, which is to honor the ultimate sacrifices made by so many of our nation’s heroes. For some, Memorial Day has become more about barbecues, sales, and the unofficial start of summer rather than what it is truly supposed to be about. Attending one of our parades or ceremonies is a good way to keep perspective on why Memorial Day is such an important day to honor.
There are a number of reasons why we should pause and remember. In fact, there are 1,354,664 reasons we need to do so. As of last year, that is the number of American
soldiers that have died in all of the conflicts and wars since the founding of our nation.
That’s an astounding number of lives lost. Every one of those lives, taken too soon, was someone special; a mother or father, a daughter or son, a wife or husband. It is our duty as Americans to remember these heroes and the true meaning of Memorial Day. We owe so much to their sacrifice, courage, and devotion to our country.
This weekend, I hope you spend some time doing what you enjoy. I hope you attend a barbecue, find a great sale at your favorite store, or get away to the beach. I also hope that you and your family have the opportunity to watch the flag wave in the breeze, perhaps at our parade or one of our ceremonies. And when you do, please think of all our fallen heroes and the quote that begins this column. The reason our flag flies is because of the last breath of the 1,354,664 soldiers who died so that we may live our lives with freedom.
This weekend offers numerous opportunities to pay your respects to our fallen. Please consider attending one of the ceremonies occurring in the Town of Clarkstown listed below, or elsewhere in the County.
Friday, May 26th
11:00am Town of Clarkstown Memorial Day Ceremony at Street Community Center, 31 Zukor Road, New City (also via Town Facebook live).
Saturday, May 27th
10:30am Congers Veterans Memorial Association Parade, Kings Highway to Lake Road, Congers. Ceremony and scholarship awards in front of the VMA building. 66 Lake Road, Congers, immediately following the parade.
Sunday, May 28th
Noon Rockland County Veterans Coordinating Council Memorial Day Ceremony, Frederick Loescher Cemetery, 220 Brick Church Road, Spring Valley.
1pm Korean War Veterans Memorial Day Ceremony, immediately following the ceremony at Loescher, at the Gary Onderdonk Cemetery on the RCC campus, 145 Viola Road Suffern.
Monday, May 29th
9:00am Memorial Day Ceremony, conducted by the Friends of Mount Moor Cemetery, Mount Moor Cemetery located at the Palisades Center Mall, Palisades Center Drive,
West Nyack. 10:00am William V DeBevoise Jr, American Legion Memorial Day Parade, Main Street,
New City from Collyer Avenue to the Rockland County Courthouse.
12:00pm Naurashank American Legion Post #794 and Jewish War Veterans Ceremony at the Veterans Monument adjacent to the Nanuet train station on Prospect Street,
11:30pm Watch Fires conducted by the Rockland County Veterans Coordinating Council. The watch fires will be lit at 11:30pm and burn for 24 hours at four locations:
• Bowline Point Park in Haverstraw
• Eugene Levy Memorial Park on Route 45 in Pomona
• The top of Clausland Mountain in Orangeburg
• The east end of the Piermont Pier.
Anyone wishing to retire flags can do so at any of the locations. A ceremony will be held at each of the four locations.
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