Memorial Day in Central Square
(Last Monday of May)
In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Observance: American Legion Post 915 of Central Square begins
its observance each year on Memorial at 9:00am. The parade route is usually
from Tucker Ave up Route 11 heading north to the center of the village. Once
in the “square” there is a ceremony to honor and remember our deceased
armed forces veterans. About 9:30am is the “Fly
over of F16s”. Following services the parade proceeds to Hillside
Cemetery for further salutes and remembrances.
Brief History: Memorial Day, originally called Decoration
Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.
There are several different version of how and where Memorial Day got its start. However,
Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President
Lyndon Johnson in May 1966. It really is not important who was the very
first to celebrate Memorial Day, what is important is that Memorial Day was
established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation;
it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John
Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was first observed
on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate
soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize
the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern
states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate
days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those
who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting
in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday
in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 -
363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern
states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead:
January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi;
May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana
Some early Memorial Day Ceremonies in Central Square:
1933: In 1933 the Central Square Memorial Day activities were
led by the American Legion started with a march to the village park for services
at the veterans' memorial tablet. Following services they went to Hillside
Cemetery to the graves of Glen Fuller and Edwin Baxter for services.
1934: In 1934 the village band led the way from the
town building on Fulton Street to the village park for a short service. George
Perfield acted as the marshal. Marchers then preceded to hillside Cemetery
for prayer and an address by Rev. A. E. Blunden. Next a patriotic reading
was given by Mrs. E.E. Church after which a salute was fired and taps sounded
in memory of World War veterans, Glen Fuller and Edwin Baxter.
1944: Although Memorial Day has always been somber I have
to believe that the activities in 1944 in Central Square had an even deeper
meaning. The American Legion and school band led the march to the village
park as usual and Evo Matthys, past Legion Commander, presided during the honor
roll program. Three Central Square men had lost their lives during the
present war (World War II). The participants then continued on to Hillside
Cemetery where Mrs. Ellis placed a wreath on the grave of George Somers, veteran
of the Spanish American War.
By the end of World War II, eleven local boys had sacrificed their
life in service to our country. A white rose and a geranium were placed
in honor of each of these soldiers as part of the Memorial Day program in 1946. Wreaths
and baskets of flowers were also placed in honor of those who died in the First
World War. Following the service everyone went to Hillside Cemetery where
a wreath was placed on the grave of Carlton W. Gridley who had been buried
in April. At that time Mr. Gridley was the only Second World War veteran
to be buried at Hillside Cemetery.
Memorial Day 2016 Photos
Memorial Day 2015 Photos
Memorial Day 2014 Photos
Memorial Day 2013 Photos
Memorial Day 2012 Photos
Memorial Day 2011 Photos
Memorial Day 2010 Photos
Memorial Day 2009 Photos
Memorial Day 2008 Photos
Memorial Day History