NORTH CREEK Terry Waterston, commander of the American Legion Post 629, set the tone for the Memorial Day service held Monday, May 28 at the veterans’ memorial on Main Street with her opening words.
“We are here today to remember the sacrifices and hardships borne by the men and women who answered their country’s call during an hour of need,” she said.
Waterston knows these sacrifices and hardships herself. She and her sister joined the Marine Corps in 1954. Her daughter served in Iraq during Desert Storm; one of her sons retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of master sergeant and his wife, with the rank of full colonel. Her other son retired from the National Guard.
The North Creek service was attended by many members of the community. The Johnsburg Central School (JCS) Marching Band along with the flag corps were led by Boy Scout Troop 36, the Cub Scouts, and the Brownies from the school to the memorial.
Matthew Hayden, a JCS senior who attended the Boys State program sponsored by the American Legion in 2011, was the guest speaker. During his speech, he expanded on Waterston’s theme by recounting an interview he conducted as part of an English assignment during his sophomore year. For this assignment, he chose a close family friend who had been injured by an IED (improvised explosive device) while serving overseas.
Dr. Eric Holt of the U.S. Air Force was serving as a field medic when his convoy was attacked. Despite serious injuries, he refused treatment until he had helped all those who were more gravely injured. His selfless dedication made a deep impression on Hayden, who recalled that in response to a later Memorial Day greeting, Holt told him, “As someone who was pretty banged up while serving, I can tell you to always remember that you don’t have to be G.I. Joe to serve your community.”
Hayden played “Taps” after Paul Sears, a scoutmaster and Legionnaire who completed three tours during Operation Enduring Freedom, laid down the ceremonial wreath.
Jonathan DeLappa directed the band and Mary Leach the flag corps. The Rev. Ron Allen gave the invocation and benediction. After the service, people were invited to gather at the North Creek Volunteer Fire Company, where refreshments were provided.