June 06, 2013

Mahopac observes Memorial Day

Mahopac observed Memorial Day on May 27 with a parade along Rt. 6 led by the VFW Color Guard, along with the American Legion, Boy Scout Troop 371, the Mahopac Senior Citizens, the fire departments of Mahopac, Mahopac Falls and Carmel and the Mahopac High School Band. The parade began at the corner of Clark Place and 6N, and proceeded toward Memorial Circle on East Lake Blvd, where it was followed by a ceremony honoring our fallen soldiers. State and local officials were in attendance, including New York State Senator Greg Ball, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a representative from County Executive MaryEllen Odell's office, Carmel Town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt, Carmel Town Council members Frank Lombardi and Suzanne O'Keefe-McDonough, and Highway Superintendent Mike Simone. The Honorable Thomas Jacobellis and James F. Reitz were also present.

Mahopac resident Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Bensberg, recently welcomed home from active duty, presented flags that were flown over American military bases in Afghanistan to the commanders of the VFW and the American Legion. An opening prayer was offered by Deacon John Moran of Saint John the Evangelist Church. Master of Ceremonies Bill Duschanek asked all World War II and Korean War veterans present to sit within the circle so that they could be appreciated by the audience for their service to the United States.

The Mahopac High School Band played, and a moment of respectful silence was observed as the American flag was lowered to half-staff. Duschanek invited the children to join him in the circle to sing, "God Bless America," after which a closing prayer was given by Reverend Kenneth Mast of the First Presbyterian Church of Mahopac.

Ray Callinan, Chaplain of VFW Post 5491, said the day meant a lot to him.

"This is such a special day," Callinan said. "Veterans feel a special obligation to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We thank everyone who participated, and the spectators who cheered us on, taking the time out of their day to show respect to our fallen comrades. It means a lot to us."

Other ceremonies followed at the VFW and American Legion to honor fallen soldiers and deceased members, and a military gun salute was given by the VFW Color Guard.

Mahopac News was on hand to document the people who came out in support of their veterans.

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