STONY CREEK - In observance of their hometown's traditional Memorial Day ceremonies, local citizens circled around a flag pole, a bed of colorful flowers, and four monuments commemorating the town's history, heroes and veterans, Almost 100 residents and visitors listened solemnly as John Cronkhite of the William J. Varney American Legion Post of Lake Luzerne fired a salute of three rifle shots to close the ceeremonies held Monday at the Stony Creek town park.
The reverent observance had begun with a parade, in which the Legion Post was the lead color guard. The beginning and closing of the memorial event exemplified the tight bond that makes possible much of community life in Adirondack small towns. A polite, appreciative round of applause followed the color guard's procession, with Hugh Sonners bearing the flag.
They were followed closely by the Stony Creek Volunteer Fire Company's own color guard, with Dan Culver holding the flag aloft. A familiar Stony Creek face, John Mosher, with his wife Joann, could be seen driving inside the fire engine, with new member Dexter Baker at the helm of the company's new ambulance. Joining them in the parade were personnel and vehicles from the Luzerne-Hadley Fire Department, the Thurman Volunteer Fire Company and the Thurman Emergency Squad.
When the parade ended at the park, Stony Creek Town Supervisor Frank Thomas led the memorial observance.
The message by Pastor Rex Fullam of the Knowlhurst Baptist Church, the only church remaining in Stony Creek, held the attention of all ages.
Citing quotations from the Bible, Fullam called on the people to remember and emulate the love for family and country, and recall the sacrifice, the commitment to the cause of freedom, and the stalwart adherence to duty, even in the line of fire, of the men and women in the U.S. armed forces who died to preserve our way of life.
"It starts where we are," pastor Fullam urged. "Let's teach it, let's practice it for the next generation."
Supervisor Thomas offered a brief inspiring message, followed by the firing of the salute, the raising of the flag, and Taps. Afterwards, townsfolk conversed over hearty refreshments at the Stony Creek Town Hall.