WARRENSBURG - With American flags gently waving overhead and military color guards at attention, local veteran John Peluso stepped up to the microphone and looked over the assembled citizens - both local residents and motorcyclists visiting town for Warrensburg Bike Week.
"May we never forget military personnel who paid the ultimate price and gave their lives in the line of duty," he said.
About 70 people assembled in Frederick H. Flynn Memorial Park Monday to honor the citizens of Warrensburg and Thurman killed in combat.
In attendance for this Warrensburg Veterans' Memorial Ceremony, now anticipated to be an annual event, were members of the VFW Post No. 4821 and the American Legion Post 446 - both based in Warrensburg - and the honor guard of the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co.
Joining them were representatives of the various branches of the service, including local citizen Kendra Raymond on behalf of the Marine Corps, two Army National Guard soldiers based in Glens Falls, and a representative of the U.S. Navy base in Saratoga Springs.
Peluso welcomed the military personnel.
"We express our appreciation to you for your commitment to your fellow citizens in preserving our freedom," he said.
Peluso noted how people in small, rural communities tend to reach out and help each other, and how this spirit prompts them to serve in the military, leading to a disproportionately high number of people - 27 from Warrensburg and Thurman since World War I - giving their lives on behalf of our nation, he said.
"I truly hope we don't have to add any more to this list of those killed in action," he said.
Peluso as well as Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty welcomed the soldiers and veterans, plus they extended a welcome to the motorcyclists who were joining in paying their respects.