No parade, but Honor Guard remembers the fallen on Memorial Day
Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Wally Skrypnik, commander of the American Legion in Albion, plays Taps during an observance on Memorial Day in front of the Albion Middle School. There is usually a large crowd for the Memorial Day service each year at the school.
There is no Memorial Day service or parade today with social gatherings still limited to no more than 10 people due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today, there were eight veterans in the Honor Guard.
The Honor Guard, however, did a gun salute and played Taps at eight sites in Albion – cemeteries and memorials for veterans.
Joe Gehl of Kent is part of the Honor Guard in Albion that went to many local cemeteries and memorials this morning to honor soldiers who were killed in action.
Gehl is shown with the Honor Guard at the older St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery on Brown Road.
Gehl served in the Korean War, where he said two of his classmates from Corning were killed. Another friend from basic training also was killed in Korea.
“I always remember them during this time,” Gehl said.
The Honor Guard met at 7 this morning at the Orleans County Vets’ Club on Platt Street. They did a gun salute and then Taps was played by Wally Skrypnik, commander of the American Legion in Albion.
Wally Skrypnik, left, assists Gary Befus with the American flag after the gun salute and Taps at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery on Route 31.
Befus asked the Honor Guard members if they would be willing to honor veterans at the local memorials and cemeteries as they usual do on Memorial Day, even though there wasn’t a parade today.
The group was willing and would visit eight sites to honor veterans this morning.
Befus said the Honor Guard usually gets together frequently during the year, often at funerals of veterans.
“This is the first time we’ve seen each other in months because there haven’t been any funerals,” Befus said.
Mike Donahue looks for an empty shell after the gun salute at Mount Albion Cemetery.
Matt Passarell lowers the flag at St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Route 31 in Albion. Kevin Christy is at left.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery on Route 31 includes a memorial for two World War II soldiers –Tech Sgt. Joseph F. Christopher who was killed in North Africa on April 28, 1943 and Cpl. John A. Christopher who was killed in North Africa on Nov. 26, 1943.
The Honor Guard includes, from left: Phil Warne, Kevin Christy, Joe Gehl, Mike Donahue, Matt Passarell, Orville Preston and Gary Befus.
These veterans look for their empty shells after an observance in front of the Vietnam War memorial in front of the Albion Middle School, where there is usually a large Memorial Day event each year.
Orville Preston, left, Kevin Christy, center, and Joe Gehl stand at attention while Taps is played at the Orleans County Vets’ Club this morning.