Brigadier General Todd Traver spoke to the gathering at Stoddard Park. Photo by David Lee
CANAAN – The Town of Canaan held its first Memorial Day Parade in 32 years on Monday, May 30. The parade gathered at the Canaan firehouse on state Route 295 and stepped off promptly at 1:45 p.m. with accompaniment of the Ghent Band. Marchers processed to the Veterans Memorial where wreaths were placed. They continued down to Stoddard Park for a program featuring comments from Town Supervisor Brenda Adams, New York State Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th) who is chair of the New York State Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and Gary Flaherty, director of the Columbia County Veterans Service Agency.
Keynote speaker for the afternoon was Brigadier General Todd Traver, the only general on active duty from Columbia County. A Chatham native, he remembered Memorial Day services of his childhood. He said that 36 years ago he played taps for the ceremony. He also spoke of his uncle George Traver who was killed in WWII on the South Pacific island of Tarawa. In 2017 his remains were identified and returned for burial in the Chatham Cemetery. Brigadier General Traver also told the story of Chatham High School graduate Frank Fratellenico who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his action in Vietnam in 1970, sacrificing his life to save those of his comrades.
“I want to publicly recognize the Vietnam vets who returned home to scorn,” he said. “I want to say that I see you, I honor you, I respect you and I thank you.”
He also reminded the gathering of Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Robsky, an ordinance disposal tech from Elizaville who was killed while attempting to diffuse a bomb outside of Bagdad in 2003.
Brigadier General Traver advised the gathering to “fly the flag, be involved in your community, and please, exercise your right to vote.”
Hillsdale Memorial Day salutes echo through the Roe Jan. In Hillsdale the Memorial Day parade lined up on Anthony Street and marched up to the Civil War monument in the center of the village on Route 23 where a wreath was placed on Monday, May 30. A second wreath was placed at the monument on Route 23 near the park, and a third at the monument at the intersection of Routes 23 and 22. At each monument a rifle salute was performed. The procession then turned north and concluded at the Hillsdale Firehouse on Route 22. Hillsdale Cadby-Shutts VFW Post 7552 Quartermaster, Adjutant and Service Officer Jim MacArthur made brief remarks. Hot dogs and soda were served. The Color Guard (l to r) are Reed Neer, David Brotko, Joseph Cordato, Peggy Anderson, David Handlowich and James MacArthur. Photo by David Lee
Setting one of the two wreaths at the monument at the intersection of state Route 295 in Canaan are (l to r) Canaan Town Supervisor Brenda Adams, Command Sgt. Major Gary Flaherty and Brigadier General Todd Traver. Photo by David Lee
The parade stepped off from Maple Street in Philmont led by a color guard from the Minkler-Seery American Legion Post 252 and proceeded through the village with the cadence provided by the Taconic Hills High School drum corps. The parade concluded at the village green where the speaker’s platform was set up. A wreath was placed at the base of the veterans’ monument, a rifle salute was performed and taps were played. The guest speaker was retired LTC Stephen May. Master of Ceremonies Jeff French (pictured) pointed out the newly installed banners on the light posts featuring pictures and names of “Hometown Heroes”; veterans who had been killed in the line of duty. Photo by David Lee
Riding in the veterans float in Hillsdale are veterans Ron Van Tassel, Gregg Zito and Bill Newcomb. Photo by David Lee