On Monday, May 28, the community gathered on Charles Colman Boulevard in honor of Memorial Day. Presented by American Legion Hasler-Kamp Post #215, the annual parade and remembrance ceremony is an important tradition in Pawling, as residents gather each year to honor the nation’s fallen veterans and give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy because of their sacrifice.
The parade featured more than one hundred participants, including representatives from all branches of the armed forces, the American Legion, the Pawling Fire Department, local dignitaries, the Pawling Central School District, and members of the scouting community. The Master of Ceremonies was Lou Musella, United States Navy veteran and former commander of Hasler-Kamp #215. Musella addressed the crowd of more than two hundred attendants, saying, “Today, as in past years, we come together as a united community to pause, reflect, and honor the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and say thank you for our freedom. You have not been forgotten.”
The remembrance ceremony featured an invocation from The Reverend John F.X. Palatucci of St. John the Evangelist Church, as well as performances from the Pawling High School band and chorus. The names of fallen veterans from Pawling were read aloud, paying homage to residents who gave their lives in the defense of their country. Servicemen from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam were honored with the placement of a poppy flower. A ceremonial empty chair was placed in remembrance of POW/MIA soldiers.
In closing, Musella expressed gratitude to a number of local organizations: “In light of recent events, I would like to thank the Pawling Fire Department under the leadership of Chief Everett White, and members of the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office, New York State Police, first responders and linemen who continue to do very difficult work to keep us all safe every day. We thank you. And I would be remiss if I didn't thank our entire scouting community. Last Saturday, in the rain, they decorated every veteran’s grave with an American flag. The American Legion couldn’t do it without you.”
After the ceremony at Veteran’s Plaza, the observance proceeded to the Hasler-Kamp American Legion cemetery plot. There, members of the local scouting community placed poppy flowers on the gravestone of each veteran buried there. Finally, a rifle salute from the veteran’s color guard detachment would conclude the day’s events.