Warwick vets prep for Memorial Day; Don McFarland to serve as Parade Grand Marshal

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    WARWICK-It's Memorial Day weekend, symbolic to many as the kickoff to summer activities. It's also a time to remember the sacrifices American military servicemen gave to preserve freedom here and abroad. Warwick's annual Memorial Day service, ceremony and parade is sponsored by Nicholas P. Lesando Jr. American Legion Post #214 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4662. Warwick veterans' organizations invite residents of the Town of Warwick to attend and participate in Memorial Day services on Monday, May 31. Parade Grand Marshal will be Don McFarland, who served as an aviation machinist mate in the Navy Air Corps during World War II and was a NASA engineer for 31 years. McFarland's ancestors moved to the family farm, located on Rte. 17A at the entrance to Warwick, in 1760. He and his wife, Mary Neal, live on the historic Warwick farm. Warwick's Memorial Day traditional rites will begin at 11 a.m. The parade will begin forming at 10 a.m. at Village Hall on Main Street. It will proceed down Main Street, up Oakland Avenue to the Warwick Cemetery, where memorial services will be held by American Legion Post 214 and Veterans of Foreign War Post 4662. Speakers will be Rev. Duncan Truman, Mayor Michael Newhard, and Supervisor Michael Sweeton with clergy giving the invocation and benediction. After services, the parade will reform and proceed to St. Stephen's Cemetery for memorial services for veterans buried there. Services will be conducted by Father Michael McLoughlin The parade will then proceed down Forester Avenue to the Firemen's Monument at Veterans Memorial Park where local firemen will conduct their memorial services. Refreshments will be served at the lower level of the Legion Hall for all who paraded. In case of rain, the services will be held at the Park Avenue School gymnasium. The annual memorial church service will be held at the New Milford Methodist Church on Sunday, May 30, at 10:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome. The annual Memorial Day observance has been a part of the American scene for more than 100 years. In 1868, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued his historical speech for such an observance, which established the tradition of public ceremonies "to respect comrades who died in defense of their country." For many years after the Civil War, the Grand Army of the Republic in the north and the Confederate Veterans in the south took charge of Memorial Day ceremonies in their respective communities. When these organizations became unable to carry on activities, these rites (which include the decoration of all known veterans grave sites), the American Legion pledged its help to the perpetuation of the annual observance of Memorial Day. Although it began as an occasion to commemorate the deal of all wars, Memorial Day has since become a time for decoration of graves of family land friends. Urging the widest possible participation in Memorial Day Services, John Woloszczak, Warwick American Legion commander, referred to an excerpt from General Logan's order: "Let no avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to present or coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic." In his Memorial Day proclamation, Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard called upon every household and business in Warwick to display the American flag in the appropriate manner "in proud tribute to the meaning of the day."