Memorial Day Observances on Monday in the Hilltowns

In Blandford, marchers will meet for a lineup at Town Hall at 10 a.m.

A float in the Russell Memorial Day parade 2015. (Photo by Amy Porter)

(The Westfield News) – “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude,” Chester Memorial Day observance organizers.

BLANDFORD –  is one of two towns that will have the Gateway Marching Band, which alternates towns every year, to participate in the Memorial Day ceremonies. In Blandford, marchers will meet for a lineup at Town Hall at 10 a.m., and the parade will step off at 11 a.m. The parade will march up to the flags, where there will be a ceremony. A community cookout/picnic down at Watson Park will immediately follow.

RUSSELL – is the other town this year that will have the Gateway Regional Marching Band for the Memorial Day observances. Marchers will gather at the Fire Station, and step off at 1 p.m. The parade will march down Main Street to Route 20, to the Russell Cemetery on Old Westfield Road where there will be a ceremony honoring the fallen, and back up to Veterans Park on Main Street where another formal ceremony will be held.

MONTGOMERY – will hold its Memorial Day observances beginning at 12 p.m. in front of the church. Participants will march to the cemetery where an observance will be held, and Steve and Mike Pitoniak will sing.

HUNTINGTON – marchers will assemble at Pettis Field at 8:30, and the parade will step off at 8:45, when they will march to the town green, with a ceremony to follow. Keynote speaker will be Edward Renauld, Jr., veterans services officer for the town. There will also be a guest appearance by Adam LeBarron as Abraham Lincoln. After the ceremony and “Taps” is played, there will be a viewing of the PBS documentary “Hallowed Ground” in Stanton Hall. The film shows 22 American military cemeteries overseas, including Flanders Field. Refreshments will be served.

CHESTER – will begin its program at 10 a.m. at Chester Town Hall. Master of Ceremonies will be Carl Baldasaro, Captain, Chester Fire Department. The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by members of Boy Scout Troop 120, and scoutmaster, Daniel Harding. Anna and Marie Pless will sing the “Star Spangled Banner,” and graduating senior Anna Pless will sing “America the Beautiful.” The Invocation and Benediction will be led by Rev. Daniel C. Herr of the Chester Baptist Church. The scouts will place wreaths at the Veterans Memorials. Ray and Michael Lewis and Stephen Salvini, Jr. will be the “Salute to the Fallen” Honor Guard, and 5th grader and scout, Jackson Harding will play “Taps.”

There will also be a recognition of Purple Heart recipient and WWII U.S. Army Veteran, Aldo Bizzozero. Guests will be the family of Hugh S. Miller, who served in the U.S. Army during WWI and received a gold medal from the Town of Chester for his service. Family members will present the medal (on loan) to the Chester Historical Society. The medal will be presented by: Kenneth Miller, grandson of Hugh Miller and a retired U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant who served during the Vietnam War and Travis Miller, great- grandson of Hugh Miller and currently a Tech Sergeant with the Air National Guard at Barnes Air Base in Westfield. Travis is the son of Stephen Miller, and resident Eleanor Miller Doyle is a granddaughter of Hugh S. Miller. Other participants will include her sisters Vivienne, Evelynn, Carolynn and Gwendolynn who will sing “America,” boy scouts Gage Laurie will who read “The Gettysburg Address” and Eddie Harding who will read “The Ragged Old Flag,” and keynote speaker, U.S. Army Veteran Shannon Fristik.

The following Essay and Poster Winners, who were judged by Council on Aging members, will also be recognized at the ceremony:

  • Kindergarten: First place Jacob Johnson, second place Adam Dasilva
  • First grade: First place Adam Forgue, second place Ronan Davenport
  • Second grade: First place Wesley Danengburg, second place Rihanna Reed
  • Third grade: First place Kathryn Harding, second place Jake Marchbanke
  • Fourth grade: First place Dawson Jackman, second place Andre Tsosie
  • Fifth grade: First place Jaylin Glenn, second place Jackson Harding

Following “Amazing Grace” sung by John Armitage and a Benediction, there will be a procession down Main Street to Maple Street then on to Rte. 20 to Chester Factory Village Cemetery, where a Final Tribute will be made to the fallen, and “Taps” will be played.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, everyone is invited to Chester Fire Station for light refreshments.

Copyright 2017 The Westfield News