Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C,I – Schenectady) capped his observance of Memorial Day 2010 with visits to three Montgomery County Memorial Day parades on Monday, May 31--Fonda-Fultonville, Hagaman, and the Town of Glen. In the course of the annual observance, Senator Farley marched in eight such parades, the above three, plus Johnstown in Fulton County, Rotterdam and Scotia in Schenectady County, and Corinth in Saratoga County.
"Every event was special, and I was honored to participate in each event, as I am every year," said Senator Farley, "As a veteran myself, I am proud to be part of such observations, particularly to honor those who have fallen in our nation's service. They fought and died to keep us free.
The Town of Glen parade may not have have been the largest of these events. It's held in the hamlet of Glen, which is really a tiny place, but the event and the place itself was marked not only by much patriotism and good feeling but also by a particularly fine address on the meaning of Memorial Day by Town of Glen Supervisor Larry Coddington. I'd like to share it with you. Here is what Supervisor Coddington had to say:
As I was watching today's activities I couldn't help but think about the many freedoms we enjoy in this country. Freedom of speech; I can speak here today and say almost anything I want, we can criticize our government leaders without fear of retribution or retaliation. Freedom of religion; we are free to attend any church we want, choose any religion we wish or not attend any church at all without fear of persecution. We can travel this great country from shore to shore without going through checkpoints and fear being detained. Freedom is a blessed and wonderful thing. But there is only one reason we enjoy these freedoms today.
Over 230 years ago a group of colonists, tired ofoppression and tyranny, decided their love of liberty was more important than their personal well being. They stood up, armed themselves and began this nation's struggle for freedom, and it still continues today. From the bloody fields of Gettysburg to the challenges of Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Battle of Argonne Forest to the jungles of
Vietnam, from the beaches of normandy to the Korean Peninsula and all the other battles and skirmishes in between, Millions of Americas best and brightest men and women have stood up and answered freedom's call. They have not only kept this country free but have liberated millions of oppressed people in all corners of the world.
But freedom comes at a very high cost. Many of these soldiers paid the highest price and made the ultimate sacrifice. That is why we are here today for this somber observance. On Memorial Day we honor those who made that sacrifice, we honor their heroism, we honor their bravery and we honor their love of country over their own self-interests. A love of country so profound that hundreds of thousands of men and women have laid down their lives so that we are able to assemble here and all over this country today. We also honor those family members who waited here at home for months and years for their loved ones to return, many to learn the bad news that it wasn't going to be. I think of the hundreds of cemeteries across this land, headstones decorated with American flags, I think of the beautifully manicured Arlington National Cemetery and I visualize the rows upon rows of white crosses at Normandy. They are lasting reminders of the sacrifices of all those who have fought and died for our freedom.
These Memorial Day observances must continue for as long as we cherish our freedom and realize what it costs. We must never let anyone, friend or foe, ever think, for one moment that just one of these brave men and women died in vain. They must always be honored with the true respect and dignity they deserve . I know many of you, when you leave here today, will go about your lives, maybe a family picnic or barbecue, maybe back to work or shopping, that is the freedom we enjoy. But I would ask you to take a moment out of your busy day and just think about those brave soldiers who gave their lives for you and I. If you know a veteran, take a moment to tell them thank you and let them know you appreciate their service. Finally, take a moment to say a prayer for peace, that one day, no matter who they are, may walk this beautiful earth and breathe the air of freedom. No longer in fear of persecution, oppression and war. That truly someday the armaments of war will be hammered into the plowshares of peace. Thank you and may GOD BLESS YOU.