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Remembering fallen heroes on Memorial Day

Democrat Staff
Posted 6/2/23


By Jacqueline Herman

We see it on TV. We read about it in the newspapers. A relative is called to serve and we are affected. But do we really comprehend the extent of the brutal, …

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Remembering fallen heroes on Memorial Day



By Jacqueline Herman

We see it on TV. We read about it in the newspapers. A relative is called to serve and we are affected. But do we really comprehend the extent of the brutal, sometimes fatal encounters our servicemen face on a daily basis? The Town of Bethel Memorial Day service May 29, 2023 held at the Town Square in Kauneonga Lake evoked the realization of the bravery our servicemen exhibit in their line of duty.

The daring endeavors of Master Sergeant John Chapman were told by Sullivan County Court Judge, Honorable James Farrell. A combat air controller and SEAL team member, Chapman found himself alone in the dark on a snowy mountain on a dangerous mission on March 4, 2022. At 3:00 a.m., his helicopter was hit by an air grenade and he was fatally wounded in hand-to-hand combat after a crash landing. Awarded the Medal of Honor in 2018, “He always put needs of others first and willingly exposed himself to enemy fire.”

 James Farrell continued, “On this day we remember all those who gave their lives in defense of our nation…without these brave men and women, our nation would cease to exist.”

Veterans in the audience were called to the front by Senior Chief Petty Officer Joe Collura, as “representatives of all individuals who have suffered loss.”

“They did what they did not for money, or glory, and not based on hate, but based on love.”

He told the story of another SEAL, Staff Sergeant Mulvaney, who did return, and who heard in his head, through all the danger, his oath as a boy scout, and who, for his participation in the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, won the Medal of Honor in 2019. 

A speech on June 26, 2019 in The Hall of Heroes, his testimony, includes “Combat reveals honor”, done for “our love of nation and love of life”. 

“We are,” he continues, “willing to die for the unique creation called the USA. I am complete having that experience. They gave their lives for you…we truly honor the fallen. We execute the lawful and noble intent of government. We broke the will of the enemy…we fight so our children do not have to.”

Also mentioned was war correspondent Michael Weir. “Without him, our story would not have gotten out. (His) reporting is a testament to what we all did.” 

Town Supervisor Dan Sturm spoke to show “gratitude for all who have served” and listed several local roads named after deceased servicemen. “It is a day to remember our fallen troops…We remember them, acknowledge them, and for all of them have great gratitude.”

Chaplain Randy Pierce closed the ceremony with blessings “to bring us together in true comradeship and peace.” 

The flag was raised to half-staff, accompanied by a bugle playing Taps.


By Anthony Morgano

Roscoe hosted their annual Memorial Day parade on Monday, followed by a ceremony in front of the Roscoe-Rockland firehouse.

The Memorial Day committee planned a surprise for those in attendance this year, a collection of boots with photos of deceased veterans lining the parade route.

The six recently passed veterans’ boots were lined up in front of the memorial at the firehouse, while the remaining 89 boots were stretched out along Stewart Avenue. 


By Alex Kielar

The Allan Milk Memorial VFW Post 7276 held a Memorial Service at the Long Eddy Cemetery on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. 

A luncheon at the Long Eddy Firehouse immediately followed the service. 

The post is named in honor of one of the first soldiers killed in the Vietnam war, Allan Milk.


By Derek Kirk

A crowd gathered at the Sullivan County Veterans Cemetery in Liberty, with Director of Veterans Service Agency Stephen Walsh, leading over the memorial service. 

Sullivan County Legislator Luis Alvarez gave remarks on Memorial Day, with the innovation being delivered by Rev. Walter Haff. Taps was performed by Randy Peers, and God Bless America was performed by Lori Orestano-James. Members of the Ruddick-Trowbridge American Legion Post 73 acted as the color guard for the stars and stripes.

A wreath laying ceremony was included in the presentations, in honor of the Gold Star families that were highlighted and honored.


By Carol Montana

In what has become a decades-long tradition, residents of the Hamlet of Grahamsville gathered for the annual Memorial Day Flag Exchange at the Grahamsville Rural Cemetery. 

Each Memorial Day and Veterans Day, a flag, which has been flying to honor an area veteran for the previous six months is lowered, and a new one is raised in honor of another deceased member of the armed forces.

This year, the flag honoring U.S. Navy Veteran Charles Sosnowski was lowered and folded by members of Boy Scout Troop 97 and then presented to his family. A flag honoring U.S. Army Veteran Herb Akerley was hoisted to fly till November 11, Veterans Day. 

The Flag Exchange was organized by Geri Gorton, with an invocation and benediction provided this year by Pastor Chris Delong of the Willowemoc Baptist Church. 

Following the exchange of the flags, Boy Scout Jonathan Conjura performed Taps, which was echoed by Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient James Richardson. 


BY Derek Kirk 

A solemn ceremony was hosted at the Government Center in Monticello in honor of the esteemed fallen for Memorial Day – as Master of Ceremonies Bill Kapito led the tribute.

After the performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Lori Orestano-James, as is a 39-year long tradition, County Legislator Luis Alvarez delivered remarks on the holiday’s importance. 

Prayers were offered up by Father Cheddar of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Port Jervis and Rabbi Lawrence Zierler.

A number of law enforcement agencies and first responders were present, as well as members of Boy Scout Troop 101 and Pack 101 of Rock Hill.


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