Warwick honors its veterans at Memorial Day ceremonies

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:43

WARWICK - Earlier that morning, as a line of thunderstorms swept through Warwick, it looked as though the May 30 Memorial Day ceremonies would have to be held indoors. But by 11 a.m. there were clear skies and unseasonably warm temperatures as hundreds of members of veterans’ groups, their guests and other organizations participated in the annual Memorial Day ceremonies beginning with the traditional parade down Main Street. Numerous groups and honored guests then joined the veterans in ceremonies held at Warwick Cemetery, St. Stephen’s Cemetery and Veterans Memorial Park. The Grand Marshall for this year was American Legion Post 214 Commander Bruce Sutton. Members of Warwick’s well-known Stewart family of military servicemen marched with the color guard followed by local officials, veterans and other organizations. At Warwick Cemetery, Orange County Legislator Al Buckbee, Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Mayor Michael Newhard, Town of Warwick Justice Nancy D’Angelo, Commander Sutton, VFW Post 4662 Commander Buddy Cooke, and Town of Warwick Justice Peter Barlet among others were on hand to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of all the wars America has fought. Reading the names of comrades The ceremonies began with an invocation by Rev. John Senkewich, pastor of the New Milford Methodist Church. Then, in a quiet and touching moment, American Legion Post 214 Chaplain Bob Ritzer read the names of comrades who had past away during the previous year. Eagle Scout Andrew Wenman read President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address and Girl Scout Anna Galitzine related the history of playing “Taps.” Later in the ceremonies, Ed Hodas, chairman of the Legion’s cemetery flag placing committee, presented Wenman with a special award in appreciation for his updating all the names and locations of veterans buried in Warwick cemeteries. Orange County Legislator Al Buckbee along with Sweeton and Newhard paid tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and thanked all the veterans for service to their Country. “Let us be thankful for our veterans,” said Sweeton. “The freedoms we enjoy today were earned by their sacrifices.” Newhard reported that Gold Star Mother and Widow Carolyn Lesando, who had the longtime honor of laying the wreath at the Legion’s monument every year, had moved from Warwick to be closer to her family. Justice Nancy D’Angelo performed this year’s wreath-laying ceremony. VFW Post 4662 services, conducted by Commander Buddy Cooke, began with an invocation by VFW Chaplain Clayton Eurich followed by the laying of wreaths at the VFW monument. The ceremonies at Warwick Cemetery were followed by services at St. Stephen’s Cemetery, conducted by Father Michael McLoughlin, pastor of the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr. The parade then continued down Forester Avenue to the Firemen’s Monument at Veterans Memorial Park where members of the Warwick Volunteer Fire Department conducted a memorial service and invocation by the Warwick Fire Department Chaplain Rev. Chris Yount.