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Warrensburg observes Memorial Day

WARRENSBURG With pageantry and pride, townspeople of all ages marched up Elm and Hudson streets in the annual observance of Memorial Day. Paraders included firefighters in full dress uniform with their antique fire equipment, emergency medical responders with their trucks and banner, along with scouters and young ball players, all striding to the town cemetery for an age-honored ceremony. The Warrensburg High School Marching Band, wearing new uniforms and accompanied by a flag-twirling corps, offered tuneful selections. Parade Grand Marshall Calvin Engle, former town supervisor, rode on the back deck of his son Brians Mustang convertible. His eyes shaded with aviator sunglasses, Calvin Engle waved to those lined up on sidewalks, watching and socializing. Up into the 1980s, Engle operated Warrensburgs last department store. Two teams of horses pulling a wagon and homemade wheeled carriage were piloted respectively by Roy and Jamie Ross of Thurman. Youthful 4H members rode on a float, holding chickens, rabbits and other animals. Amanda Springer, 11, and Kaitlin Cousineau, 13, walked beside the float walking small goats. The mood turned from festive to somber as Legionnaire Carson Parker opened the Memorial Day ceremony, offering his thoughts of the departed. This day is sacred, with the almost visible presence of those who have gone before us, he said. Father John Cornelius, whod arrived on a motorcycle, reminded people to honor the veterans serving in the Korean War and World War II -- who wouldnt likely be alive very much longer. He also advised the crowd to keep those now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in mind. Allow them to do their duty and come home to us, he said. As the crowd was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by the local scout troops, Warrensburg Elementary students of Suzanne Glebus class communicated the credo with signing gestures for the hearing impaired. Featured speaker was former Town Supervisor Maynard Baker. He talked of the importance to the nation of a small-town upbringing. These mountains, this small town, the straightforward, hard-working people, the school and the churches all these together develop great men and women, he said. Looking above the Warrensburg War Monument and the waving U.S. flag to Hackensack Mountain in the distance, he talked about how small-town values have formed not only the character of generations, but of our country itself. People need room to breathe, to see a far mountain, to fish a quiet lake or a rushing brook, he said. In these beautiful mountains, a mans spirit can grow, grow to become greater than himself, grow to understand the real value of freedom. The rural life including hunting and fishing, he said, is part of our heritage and freedom left to use by fighting Americans. Recalling many of the local citizens who fought in decades past, Baker mentioned names like the Haskell Brothers, Elmer Wood, Stafford Randall, Delbert Pasco, Louis Fisher, Art and Bera Brown, Col. Ben Guiles, Benny Pendall, Theron Drake, and Paul LaFond. The Warrensburg High School Band played the Star-Spangled Banner, as the hundreds gathered in the cemetery held their hands over their hearts, gazing upward at the American flag billowing in a gentle cool breeze above the Warrensburg War Memorial. Placing a wreath at the memorial were American legion No. 446 Auxiliary members Mary Kenyon, Fran Poltanis, Laurel Juckett, Helen Bradshaw, and Ceil Baksis. Marjory Parker performed a similar ritual for the local VFW Auxiliary.

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