Photos by David Gordon
Rain drove the traditional Saugerties Veterans Day observance inside, but the weather cleared in time to permit the traditional rifle salute and playing of taps outside the American Legion Post 72 building.
Referring to them as “special guests we have with us today,” former Legion commander and master of ceremonies Jim Gage introduced the veterans of World War II, who sat at a table near the podium. After reading off the nine names, Gage said “these guys would have some good stories to tell you; you may want to speak with them a little later.”
On Memorial Day the post invites a guest speaker, but on Veterans Day this is not done. In past years Gage himself has spoken on the origins of Veterans Day and on origin of the Unknown Soldier and the monument honoring him. This year, he read Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Gage attended his naval ship’s reunion in Gettysburg last month, he explained. While there, he picked up a copy of Lincoln’s famous address, which he said seemed shorter when he saw it recently than when he had to memorize it in school.
“It is interesting that he used the words, “the world will little not nor long remember what we say here,” Gage said. “We certainly have noted and we certainly have remembered.”
Deacon Henry Smith of Saint Mary and Saint Joseph’s Parish delivered the opening prayer. While thanking God for the many blessings of life, he gave thanks especially for “those who served our country, the United States of America, to make it free so that we can have all the things and all the liberties that exist here on this Earth.”
Following the ceremony, attendees moved outside for the final rifle volley and the playing of taps.
One part of the ceremony that was delayed until the rain stopped, and took place as people were leaving, was the placement of a wreath at the monument in the Veterans Park behind the Legion building. After the weather cleared, Antoinette Babb placed the wreath at the monument to the Unknown Soldier.
Handmade greeting cards on the tables, each with an American flag picture on the front and another picture inside, were provided by children at the Shenendehowa School District in Clifton Park, NY. Their teacher, Amye Speirs, is a former Saugerties resident.