Somber day marked with wreath-laying event
By Heidi Sutton
In Setauket, Memorial Day is usually marked with a parade from Main Street to Route 25A followed by a remembrance ceremony, but these are not usual times.
For the first time in recent years the parade was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Veterans of Foreign War Post 3054, which hosts the Three Village Memorial Day Parade each year, decided to hold a brief wreath-laying ceremony at Setauket Veterans Memorial Park to memorialize those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
The park’s monument honors members of the community who perished in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
“As long as two comrades survive — so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead,” said Post Commander Jay Veronko, who led the 10-minute remembrance event.
“On this day, forever consecrated to our heroic dead, we are assembled once again to express sincere reverence. This monument represents the resting places of many departed comrades who served in all wars. Wherever the body of a comrade lies there the ground is hallowed,” Veronko recited.
As in years past there was the traditional rifle salute, a prayer, the playing of taps and rousing renditions of our country’s national anthem and “God Bless America” by Arleen Gargiulo of Setauket, albeit with face masks while adhering to strict social distancing measures.
Kellen McDermott of Cub Scout Pack 18, Beverly C. Tyler representing the Three Village Historical Society, and Tim Still and Jack Cassidy from VFW Post 3054 presented wreaths.
“Our presence here is in solemn commemoration of all these men — an expression of our tribute to their devotion to duty, to their courage and patriotism. By their services on land, on sea and in the air, they have made us their debtors, for the flag of our nation still flies over a land of free people,” Veronko said.
The Post also paid their respects to their departed comrades Edward Arndt and Walter Denzler Sr. and “a solemn tribute to all comrades wherever they may rest.” The group also laid wreaths at the Setauket Village Green Memorial and the Stony Brook Village Memorial.
Veronko thanked the participants for coming. “Hopefully next year we can have a parade,” he said.
Photos by Heidi Sutton