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Memorial Day in Central Square

(Last Monday of May)
memorial day 2008

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 and Tennessee.

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. 

Links:

   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