POUND RIDGE, N.Y. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, reflection, prayer and unity. That unity was showcased at the Pound Ridge Memorial Day Parade on Monday, with community groups coming together to honor those who gave their lives to preserve the freedoms all Americans enjoy.
Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was created as a way to heal the divide created by the Civil War, when, in 1868, Union Gen. John Logan ordered that flowers be placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery.
At the ceremonies at the Pound Ridge Cemetery, Town Councilman Richard B. Lyman introduced the keynote speaker: Town Historian Steven O'Brien, who spoke of Pound Ridges significant part in U.S. military history.
"Pound Ridge has an impressive history of service in all our wars," he said, with 108 residents serving in the Civil War; 123 serving in World War I; 98 serving in World War II, out of a population of 800; and 55 serving in the Vietnam War.
"As we enjoy ourselves today, let's not forget the true meaning of this holiday, especially since we continue to have our servicemen and women in harm's way," he said.
Every year, Pound Ridge Elementary School holds a Memory Day essay contest for fifth-graders and selects a boy and girl to read their essays at the ceremony. This year's winners were James D'Ambrosi and Katherine Lyons.
In her piece, Lyons urged the crowd to understand the true meaning of this holiday of sacrifice.
"When I look back, I can remember writing what I was thankful for in first or second grade," she read. "And I wish I could go back and change it to the Army, the military and the Navy."
Pastor Lori Miller of the Pound Ridge Community Church delivered the invocation, and Monsignor George Thompson of St. Patricks Roman Catholic Church gave the benediction. The Pound Ridge Fire Department conducted the flag ceremony and sounded off gunshots in a memorial fusillade.
A barbecue and ice cream social at the Pound Ridge Town Park followed the ceremonies, sponsored by the Pound Ridge Lions Club, the Pound Ridge Business Association, the Pound Ridge Partnership, Scotts Corner Market and the Pound Ridge PBA.
Lyman said he was happy to announce that the town pool was open until 7 p.m., free for all residents. It had been uncertain whether the pool would be ready for its traditional opening this weekend, because a $150,000 renovation project had threatened to push back the date a couple of days.
He thanked the town maintenance department and the highway department for their efforts, working seven days a week to finish the pool. The pool house still has some repairs to be completed, but the building is functional, he said.
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