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Area citizens honor veterans in Chester memorial ceremony

Top state official praises community spirit

At the beginning of the Town of Chester Veterans Memorial Plaza re-dedication ceremony held July 6, local veterans serving in a color guard —  Frank Tucci,  John MacMillen and Jim Fregoe — stand at attention during a prayer.

At the beginning of the Town of Chester Veterans Memorial Plaza re-dedication ceremony held July 6, local veterans serving in a color guard — Frank Tucci, John MacMillen and Jim Fregoe — stand at attention during a prayer. Photo by Thom Randall.

— “We acknowledge the lives of individuals who demonstrated such steadfast dedication to family, community, state and country,” he said.

Crowd breaks into song

A trio from Word of Life — Kristopher Stout, Micah Melville and Matt Melville — sang patriotic songs, along with Robin Jewell and Bert Britt. Their songs, blending patriotism and a spiritual message, prompted tears as well as cheers from the crowd, which at times sang along with such popular anthems as “Proud to be an American.”

The ceremony concluded with a dramatic fly-over by two vintage warplanes. John Alexander of Warrensburg piloted a PT-23 Fairchild, and Don Latterell of Queensbury was behind the throttle of a PT-17 Stearman biplane. They criss-crossed the skies overhead — not far above the cheering crowd.

Hesse offered his thoughts as the ceremony ended.

“This hits home for me,” he said, noting he was from a small town. “This fantastic community has done a beautiful job.”

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