Caroline Murray/Recorder staff Lynch Literacy Academy's middle school marching band shown in the village performing patriotic tunes at Hagaman's Memorial Day Parade.
Caroline Murray/Recorder staff A 1967 Amphi car shown Monday carrying U.S. Army veteran Paul Dion, U.S. Air Force veteran Quentin Hallenbeck and U.S Army veteran Frank Garth at Hagaman's Memorial Day Parade Monday in the village.
Caroline Murray/Recorder staff Three-year-old Layla Morrow shown Monday sitting in her mom's lap, Hagaman resident Cicily Prusky, at the Hagaman Memorial Day Parade in the village.
By CAROLINE MURRAY
HAGAMAN -- Vietnam veteran Keith Schedlbauer reminded young and old alike, gathered in front of the village's War Memorial Monday, that for the past 200 years, the United States military has fought to keep our country safe, sovereign and just.
Schedlbauer was the master of ceremonies for Hagaman's Memorial Day parade and services, which began at 11 a.m. and ended later with a ceremony at the village memorial.
While speaking about the day's meaning, Schedlbauer pointed to five stones buried in the ground in honor of five Hagaman war veterans who died serving the country.
"They gave the ultimate sacrifice and to me it is all about that sacrifice," he said.
A Hagaman resident for the past 58 years, this was his 15th time facilitating the event.
The day began with a parade consisting of World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans as well as active soldiers, the Hagaman Fire Department, Fort Johnson Volunteer Fire Co., Tribes Hill Fire Department, and Mont-gomery County Emergency Services among others.
Lynch Literacy Academy's marching band also performed a selection of patriotic and classic tunes, including Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."
And the Mohawk Valley Chorus made its first appearance at the village's parade and ceremony, showcasing tunes such as the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Oh Shenandoah."
The chorus is made up of residents from seven counties in the capital region and is led by director David Rossi; Al Fedak accompanied the group on piano.
"We were invited to be a part of this wonderful parade ... so here we are," chorus president Marbie Bellany said.
Also attending for the first time were Hagaman residents Layla Morrow and Cicily Prusky. Prusky is the mother of 3-year-old Morrow, who witnessed her first parade Monday.
Prusky said she is a Hagaman native, but never saw the parade because she moved away for 10 years.
On Monday, she enjoyed all the festivities the parade had to offer with her daughter Morrow, who sat on her lap enjoying the show.
The parade ended with a ceremony led by Schedlbauer, during which three fighter planes flew across the sky.
The Rev. Gerry Kaufman of Hagaman led an invocation followed by a speech by Mayor Thomas Krom.
Krom thanked those who came out to honor the veterans -- past and present -- for their services. During his speech he noted that not every veteran volunteered their time in the military, but had no choice in fighting for the rights of other U.S. citizens.
"They were called to be a part of something bigger than themselves," Krom said.
President of the Leatherstocking Honor Flights Greg Furlong was the event's guest speaker. Furlong made sure not to leave out a single veteran during his address.
He read off the number of local soldiers who died during each war the United States was involved in.
To put the memorial into perspective, he said each passing soldier was not just another number, but a person with a story and a family.
"Each was a loss to the community, to the nation, and we must remember their sacrifice," Furlong said.
Among the crowd was Amsterdam's Polish American veteran Bill Slocum, who said he served in the U.S. Air Force between the Korean and Vietnam wars. Slocum has lived in Amsterdam for 77 years and only left the area to serve four years in the Air Force.
He sat contently beside other Polish American veterans Monday, reflecting on the day's activities as well as years past.
"It means an awful lot to me," Slocum said. "It is very nice thing for people to come out and recognize it."