Albion planning smaller-scale Memorial Day observance

Photo by Tom Rivers: Wally Skrypnik, commander of the American Legion in Albion, plays Taps during an observance on Memorial Day in front of the Albion Middle School for Memorial Day last year. There is usually a large crowd for the Memorial Day service each year at the school but the parade and service was cancelled. The state at the time  limited social gatherings to no more than 10 people due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A group of local veterans visited veterans’ memorials last year to pay their respects.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 March 2021 at 8:32 am

ALBION – Veterans organizations in Albion are planning a Memorial Day observance that will be smaller in scale.

Last year’s Memorial Day parade and service was cancelled when the state set a limit on social gatherings to no more than 10 people.

The state’s new limit for the maximum size for outdoor social gatherings will be 200, as of March 22.

Leaders of the VFW and American Legion in Albion are planning for a Memorial Day event that include a short procession and service, but won’t include the marching band, Scouts, firefighters and other community groups.

Mark Roberts, a past VFW commander, said Covid-19 is still in the community and he doesn’t want to put people at risk of catching the virus. He had Covid-19 and said it was an ordeal. He knows many people who died after getting it.

Roberts doesn’t want the sacrifice of veterans to go unnoticed on Memorial Day, which this year will be May 31.

The VFW and Legion are planning a modified route where veterans would march from the VFW on Platt Street, turn left on East Bank Street, and then another left on Main Street to the Courthouse lawn, where they will have a service. The group needs permission from the County Legislature to use the Courthouse lawn for the service.

The parade route usually starts on Main Street at the Park Street intersection, heads south to Route 31, and then heads east to the middle school lawn, where there is a Vietnam War Memorial. Usually many community groups, including the Albion marching band, are part of the parade.

Gary Befus, a member of the American Legion and VFW, is working on the details for the Memorial Day observance. It would start at 10 a.m. at the VFW with the procession, with the service to start about 10:30 a.m.

Local veterans also plan to visit local memorials and cemeteries to pay their respects to veterans on Memorial Day. The veterans typically have the Honor Guard visit eight sites in Albion for a gun salute and the playing of Taps.