CHENANGO COUNTY — Communities all around greater Chenango county will host their annual Memorial Day celebrations, a tradition that follows the federal holiday that originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war.
Originally dubbed “Decoration Day,” the first instance of the somber day of reflection was organized by teachers, missionaries black freedmen of Charleston at a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers.
Nearly 10,000 people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children, newly enrolled in freedmen's schools, as well as mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers and white northern missionaries.
Here is a list of some local communities as they continue to honor the lives of those who paid for our freedom and liberties with their lives. All events will take place on Monday, May 25; the Federal observance of Memorial Day.
• Afton Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Parade lineup time and location 9:45 a.m., corner of Main and Pleasant Avenue, and proceed down Main Street to the bridge overlooking Susquehanna River for a short program. Following that program, the parade will continue to Foster Park for the ceremony. In the event of inclement weather the ceremony will be held at the Afton Central School auditorium. Village Mayor, Sally Muller will serve as Master of Ceremonies
• Earlville American Legion will have the Memorial Day and Ceremony on Monday, May25. The parade will begin from the back of the Quickway in the Parking Lot at 10 a.m. and will end at the Earlville Cemetery where a ceremony will be held. It is recommended that all parade participants should arrive as least a half hour early. There will also will be a chicken barbecue beginning at 10 a.m. on the front lawn of the Earlville Methodist Church which is located on North Main along the route.