The area will join the nation in honoring deceased military personnel Monday in the country’s 151st annual Memorial Day.
Weather permitting, cemetery ceremonies and parades will begin Monday morning and run throughout the early afternoon. Memorial Park School students begin the tributes earlier in the week with their annual salute to veterans May 22.
The C.J. Fulmer Post in Sangerfield will begin ceremonies in Waterville at 9 a.m. with a parade to the Village Park. The Legion will conduct the tribute to the fallen, with speaker Gerald (Jerry) Plourde, a 1978 graduate of Waterville High School and former Air Force Colonel.
Plourde, also a graduate of Le Moyne College, lives in Nebraska, where he serves as Deputy Director for Strategic Targeting, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB. He is responsible for directing, coordinating, and supervising a joint staff of over 350 officers, enlisted and government civilian employees.
Plourde’s military career included time as an F-111 and B-1 pilot, with command of the Reapers of the 13th Bomb Squadron and the Raiders of the 28th Operations Group.
He served overseas in Bosnia and Afghanistan before retiring from active duty in May 2011. He and his wife, the former Deborah Morgan of Waterville, have four children, including a son who is a pilot in the Air Force. Plourde is also the son of Helen Plourde of Waterville.
Plourde said Memorial Day is a time to reconnect with what the day means. “Memorial Day gives us a day to take time to honor those who gave their life, their very life, for our country.
“Every American should understand that kind of sacrifice,’’ he said. “Sometimes I wonder where we find these kids to do that. But we find them in small towns like Waterville.’’
The Helmuth-Ingalls American Legion Post 232 and the Schilling-Burns-Young VFW Post 9591 start Clinton’s tribute with the annual Memorial Day parade starting at the College Street bridge at 8:30 a.m.
Following a memorial ceremony at the bridge at 8:50 a.m., the parade will proceed to the Village Green (center of town). The Memorial Day service will be at the gazebo in the Village Green. This year’s speaker is Lt. Colonel Michael F. LaBrecque.
LaBrecque is a native of Newport, R.I. and grew up in Clinton. He graduated from Clinton Central High School in 1995.
Following high school he attended the United States Military Academy and was commissioned into the Infantry in 1999. He transitioned to the Army Quartermaster Corps in 2002. LaBrecque is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and is attending Columbia University as an Army War College Fellow.
He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a Master’s Degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.
LaBrecque was recently selected for promotion to Colonel and for brigade command.
LaBrecque has five combat deployments, three to Afghanistan and two to Iraq.
He is the son of Les and Nan LaBrecque of Clinton.
In Clark Mills the tributes to the fallen by Clark Mills American Legion Post 26 begin Sunday, May 26 at 5 p.m. Honors will be done in the Westmoreland and Clark Mills area cemeteries. The Legion’s Drill Team will conduct prayers, lay wreaths, rifle salute and play taps at nine area cemeteries and monuments.
On Monday at 9:30 a.m. events begin with a ceremony at Westmoreland Town Green with parade to follow to the Westmoreland Cemetery.
At 11 a.m. a parade begins at the Kirkland Cemetery, stopping at the bridge to salute Navy Veterans with final ceremony ending at the Clark Mills Post 26. An Open House at the Post hosted by the officers, members, Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and friends of The Welcome Post follows the ceremonies.
In the Town of Brookfield, events start at 8:30 a.m. with a ceremony at the Unadilla Valley Cemetery by the Johnson-Rogers Legion, then at 9 in Leonardsville, 9:30 in South Brookfield, 10 in North Brookfield and in Brookfield center for the parade at 10:30, followed by a ceremony at the bridge.
The Brookfield Historical Society will have a bake sale at their building before and during the parade.