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Albion marks Memorial Day with parade, solemn service

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Veterans Joe Gehl, front, and Steve Coville were among the participants in today’s Memorial Day parade in Albion.

Amelia Symons, 2, of Albion holds an American flag while watching the parade with her brother Henry on Main Street in Albion.

Mark Roberts, commander of the VFW in Albion, raises the American flag with Wally Skrypnik, acting American Legion commander, during the Memorial Day service in front of the Middle School.

Gary Befus, a past commander of the American Legion in Albion, stands at attention during the Memorial Day service.

The Albion Marching Band participated in the parade that went from Main Street to East Avenue to the Middle School front lawn.

Vietnam War veteran and helicopter pilot Charlie Nesbitt addressed the crowd in front of the Middle School. Nesbitt said the holiday was a time to remember of the sacrifices of Americans, including three of his friends.

He talked about Albion native Rick Engle, one of Nesbitt’s childhood friend and Little League teammates, who died in Vietnam in 1968.

Nesbitt also served with Norm Perron, a helicopter pilot from Maryland who loved to entertain his fellow soldiers with a classical guitar. He died when his helicopter was shot down when he tried to rescue soldiers.

Another Vietnam veteran Dick Fore was exposed to Agent Orange. He was in the special forces. He worked as a professor at Genesee Community College, but would died from the effects of Agent Orange in 1993.

The soldiers all made a choice to serve, and to give their lives for their country, Nesbitt said.

Orleans County Legislator Don Allport also addressed the crowd. He urged veterans to tell and record their experiences in the military and at war.

“We don’t want it lost to history,” Allport said. “Americans need to know.”

During the Memorial Day service Albion student Martha Smith read “Flander’s Fields” and student Meredith Patterson read “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln.