By Dave Warner

A Memorial Day Service was held Monday at 11 a.m. at Wards Square (Eastern Park). Pete Atutis, Post Commander of the American Legion, welcomed everyone and gave opening remarks. Then, Assemblyman Robert Smullen was invited to give a few words.

Smullen spoke about his friend Allen B. Rowe, who died in service to his country. “He was willing to do the job that had to be done. He was a great leader—a force reconnaissance Marine. He was an all-American guy. Today, on Memorial Day, we mourn his loss.”

He said he knew folks in Little Falls didn’t know Rowe but said, “If you did, you’d know what he stood for. He stood for the flag, and he is worth being remembered. Because that’s what we’re here to do on Memorial Day—remember those in the past who have fallen.”

Mayor Deborah Kaufman said, “Memorial Day is the day we set aside to remember with gratitude and pride all those who served and died to protect our country and our freedom. Today, while we remember all those who perished in wars that span generations…from the civil war to Iraq, I want to draw your attention to the Vietnam War…an era that many of us lived through.”

She said that 58,220 US soldiers were killed in action, 8 of which were women, with 300,000 wounded, and 4,119 from NY died in Vietnam. Of the 2.7 million who served, it is estimated that 850,000 are still living.

“People may be surprised to hear that women were also among the casualties in Vietnam. Second Lieutenant Elizabeth Ann Jones’ mother had recently mailed her wedding dress. But on Feb. 18, 1966, Jones and her fiancé were both killed in a helicopter crash near Saigon. Her colleague, Second Lieutenant Carol Ann Drazba, also perished. The two women, both 22, were the first American female service members to lose their lives in the Vietnam War,” Kaufman stated.

“To all those who fought and died in battle…We remember you, we salute you, and honor you on this day. Welcome Home… We will never forget you,” she said.

Philip Lalonde sang three pieces, and Oscar Stivala played taps. Assemblyman Smullen had said that most people don’t know the words that go with the playing of taps, and he recited them:

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake, from the skies.
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep, may the soldier
or sailor, God keep. On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, must thou go,
when the day, and the night need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar Goeth day,
And the stars Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone, night is on.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
‘Neath the sun, Neath the stars, ‘Neath the sky,
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.