Saranac Lake honors Vietnam veterans on Memorial Day

The Saranac Lake High School Marching Band plays during the Memorial Day parade on May 28.

The Saranac Lake High School Marching Band plays during the Memorial Day parade on May 28. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. includes the names of 58,195 Americans.

“We often ask ourselves why all of these men and women gave their lives for the United States of America when it became apparent that the military would not be allowed to win the war,” Owens said. “I believe the answer is in part that they fought and died for each other.”

The hope, since the Vietnam War ended, is that Americans support the military personnel, even if they don’t support the wars they fight, Owens said.

“The veterans’ lives will never be the same after serving in Vietnam and Southeast Asia,” Owens said. “They have been and will be forever changed. This is neither good nor bad but just the way it is. War does that to all warriors, their families and their friends.”

Parade and ceremony

A number of people participated in the Memorial Day parade in Saranac Lake, including members of the American Legion Post 447, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3357, Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, veterans on motorcycles, and the Saranac Lake High School marching band led by Keith Kogut.

The master of ceremonies at the 11 a.m. service was local musician and veteran Steve Borst, who sang his song, “Village by the River,” accompanied on flute by Sue Grimm Hanley.

The high school band played the national anthem.

The Rev. Mark Reilly, pastor of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Saranac Lake, offered the Memorial Day prayer and shared news that he will be leaving soon.

“I am a naval reservist, and I was called up, and I’ll be headed overseas to the Horn of Africa in August,” Reilly said. “I’ll be gone for about a year.”

Cliff Donaldson spoke on behalf of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and read the official state proclamation for Memorial Day.

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