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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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Route 77 to honor Pembroke war hero:
Governor signs bill to honor Pembroke Vietnam War hero Clarence 'C.Jay' Hall

Clarence CJ Hall
An area soldier who died in the Vietnam War has received a long-sought honor. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation Friday renaming a portion of Route 77 the “Specialist Four (SP4) Clarence ‘C. Jay’ Hall Memorial Highway.” The road will carry Hall’s name from the Pembroke Town Park to Indian Falls Road.

Hall, 20, was a Pembroke native. He was serving as an Army rifleman with the 1st Infantry Division in Binh Duong, South Vietnam. He was mortally wounded on Oct. 7, 1969 in combat. Hall earned numerous awards for his bravery and sacrifice, including a Silver Star — the nation’s third-highest award for valor. He also received the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Star, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

A formal presentation and renaming ceremony is being planned for a later date. State Sen. Ed Rath, R-Amherst and Assemblyman Steve Hawley were among those who worked to have the stretch of highway renamed.

“I am proud that Gov. Hochul signed this legislation into law,” Rath said in a news release. “It is especially significant for me, as S6105 was my first piece of legislation to pass the senate.

“The story of Specialist Four Hall’s bravery and courage is truly awe inspiring and his sacrifice should never be forgotten,” he continued. “Thank you to everyone involved for sharing his story with me. I am honored to have had a role in bringing this proposal to reality and look forward to driving down ‘Specialist Four (SP4) Clarence ‘C. Jay’ Hall Memorial Highway’ in the future.”

Hawley said as a veteran and representative, it humbles him whenever there is an opportunity to honor those who served.
“There’s no time more solemn than when we are memorializing and giving thanks for the heroic and ultimate sacrifice of a soldier in combat, like Specialist Four Clarence 'C. Jay' Hall,” Hawley said. 

“May God bless him and his family. We are all freer today because of his service.... I am so proud to have worked with Sen. Rath to get this bill enacted into law, and I would also like to thank all of the veterans groups, Pembroke High School and Mr. Matt Moscato’s class, and all the members of the community who helped to support this initiative,” Hawley continued. “I look forward to marking the official occasion with you all at an upcoming dedication ceremony.”

The bill was delivered to Hochul on Sept. 28. It had passed the state Senate and Assembly on May 25 and June 8 respectively.

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Cunius, Carol Lee Caldwell, 5/24/21
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