Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Tribes Hill Boyscout Troop 32 walks in the town of Glen's Memorial Day parade along Route 161, Monday.
Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Members of the Montgomery 4-H Club walk with animals during the town of Glen's Memorial Day parade along Route 161, Monday.
Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Carl Fredericks, Carla Stoorvogel and Kirsten Fredericks watch the town of Glen's Memorial Day parade as it passes in front of their home along Route 161, Monday.
Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Montgomery County and town of Glen officials walk in the town's Memorial Day parade along Route 161, Monday.
By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
GLEN -- Along Route 161, residents came out of their homes and lined the street to wait for a procession that has been a small-town tradition for the past 15 years.
The annual Memorial Day parade, sponsored by the town of Glen Conservancy, included organizations from throughout Montgomery County and beyond, including members of the 4-H club who were joined by their animals, Miss Mohawk Valley and Miss Mohawk Valley Outstanding Teen, town and county officials, and local fire departments.
The procession walked approximately a half mile down Route 161, waving to the residents and throwing candy. They crossed Route 30A and stopped at Memorial Park, where they paused to honor the fallen soldiers, for whom Memorial Day is all about.
"Today is for the fallen who make our freedom possible," event co-organizer John Hart said. "We want to be part of the memory."
Guest speaker Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeff Curtin told the crowd that since the American Revolution there have been roughly 48 million men and women who have answered their nation's call and joined the military, "knowing the possibility of paying the ultimate price."
It is also estimated that since that time, 849,163 have been killed in combat, he said.
"Some were able to come off the line of duty better than they started. Some made it out of the line of duty worse off. The ones we are here for today are the ones who didn't make it out of the line of duty at all," Curtin said. "It is said that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism. You are giving up something you already have for something you could have."
Curtin added that in December 2000, U.S Congress passed a law that requires a moment of recognition on Memorial Day to honor the fallen.
"Most people are not aware that this law exists but at 3 p.m. today I encourage you all to pause and think about those 848,163 heroes that gave their life for defense of our great nation," he said.
Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, and U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, also spoke for a few minutes. Tkaczyk presented town supervisor Lawrence Coddington with a proclamation of the day while Tonko spoke about the sacrifice made and how there is a "deep-rooted debt to the soldiers and to their families."
"The best way to decorate on this Decoration Day, their graves, their memory, their honor and their legacy, is by working those liberties and opportunities for which they fought and working them to build community, to work together to make certain that we choose words and assemble in ways that are positive and speak accordingly so we can best honor them for the opportunities they gave us," he said.
County Executive Matthew Ossenfort, who stood among the crowd, described the event as the essence of small-town America and was happy to see so many come out to pay tribute.
"Often times the younger generations aren't as in tune with the sacrifices that were made to live the life that we have," he said. "It's days like today to tell friends, nieces and nephews and sons and daughters what this day really means. We may not have a battle on our own soil and we may not see the sacrifices but we are still bringing the issue of sacrifice to the forefront."
Nicole Antonucci/Recorder staff Miss Mohawk Valley Lauren Crandall and Miss Mohawk Valley Outstanding Teen Olivia Rose Smith wave to the public during the town of Glen's Memorial Day parade along Route 161, Monday.