Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Memorable, Beautiful 2021 Day:
Service and sacrifice: Memorial Day commemorations regionally observed
Roxanne Hanney, 7, and her brother Liam, 6, of Batavia wave American flags
as the Memorial Day parade passes by them Monday in Batavia.

As morning dawned across the region yesterday, people turned out for the familiar Memorial Day observances, as they honored those who served and sacrificed. It happened in communities large and small across Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Area residents, veterans, fire responders and more turned out for parades and solemn tributes.

Strikingly missing was the big candy-tossing parade of first responders and veterans in the Village of Perry. Usually stretching from Hope Cemetery, it would have transversed the busiest parts of the businesss disrict, doubling back to Lake Street by way of Center Street. The parade closes with a solemn service all around the outside street and sidewalks around the Vet's Club including the reading of lost vets over the years of various wars.

As the Batavia Memorial Day parade finished its route down Main Street, people gathered in front of the stone Genesee County Honor Roll at the Jerome Center. Military personnel and veterans joined citizens to honor those who have served and lost their lives. Amanda Warner sang the national anthem and God Bless the USA.

Jessica Patnode, UMMC director of nursing, said every year they gather in remembrance of the armed forces who have lost their lives. “Today we mourn together and give thanks to their sacrifice,” she said. Patnode said over the past year they’ve heard talk of healthcare heroes, but they found in themselves in the courage and dedication the military heroes show everyday.

Genesee County Veterans Services Coordinator William Joyce said that 189 names of Genesee County veterans who died came through his office last year. An honor roll was read and a bell rang, with a flag placed for each veteran lost. An honor guard provided a rifle salute and taps was played.

As for the parade?

Sitting on the curb of Main and Bank streets in Batavia — some on blankets and others in foldable chairs — people craned their neck to peer down the street as they saw the flashing lights of the Batavia Memorial Parade slowly approaching. As cars, trucks and motorcycles march by, people begin to clap and stand, musicians playing patriotic songs in honor of those who have fallen.

Jadriene Balduf, of Darien, has been coming to the parade for many years with her family. Sitting on Bank Street with her daughters, she said they enjoyed all of it with the girls pitching in with specific things they enjoyed like the music.

“I think it’s important for kids to be taught why we have Memorial Day,” she said. “To remember all those who have lost their lives so we can be free.” The girls talked about different things they learned in school such as the flag being flown at half mast and the President laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

This was Patricia Nolan’s first year at the Batavia parade. She said she thinks it’s important to remember the sacrifices veterans have given. She said when she was in the Albion VFW she would teach the kindergartens every year about Memorial Day and how it started. And the ceremonies and tributes continued elsewhere throughout the region on a quiet, sunny morning.

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