OXFORD – Memorial Day has become the most important day of recognition of our armed forces. It’s a day of remembrance and honor of our country's heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.
In commemoration, several activities - including five memorial services and a parade - will take place in Oxford throughout the day beginning at 8 a.m. As a part of that continued honor to service, businesses and homes alike along the annual parade route will be dressed for the part, decorated with American flags and red, white and blue flowers to honor veterans and active service personnel who have served or have given their lives.
The Oxford American Legion’s Fort Hill Post will spearhead activities at 8 a.m. with the wreath laying ceremony and rifle salute at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery on West State Street.
A parade lineup will form at the Oxford American Legion Post, 17 S. Washington Avenue. Stepping off at 9:30 a.m., the parade will be led by the Post #376 Color Guard and Rifle Squad, Legionnaires, Sons of the American Legion (SAL's), and the Auxiliary.
Village of Oxford Mayor Terry Stark and the Oxford Town Supervisor Lawrence Wilcox, the Fire Department and the Fire Department Explorers will be among the marchers. Likewise, Brienne Charles, a Junior member of Oxford American Legion Auxiliary will distribute red crepe paper poppies provided by Oxford Auxiliary members and volunteers in exchange for contributions. Proceeds go to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans, everyone is asked to give generously.
Additionally, the Preston, Brisben, and McDonough Volunteer Fire Departments will have fire trucks following the Oxford Fire Dept. As always, the parade will feature the Oxford Academy and Central High School’s, ‘Pride of the Valley,’ the Blackhawk Marching Band. The band will be followed by marching Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, OYSP, and the Youth Center.
A salute honoring those who died at sea will be given at the Main Street bridge. Oxford Legion’s Auxiliary president, Teri Webb-van Almen, will perform the wreath ceremony, tossing a memorial garland into the Chenango River, followed by a rifle salute.
The parade will turn North, up the hill on Albany Street, to the Riverview Cemetery with a ceremony and speeches honoring the memory of the departed and a rifle salute. The Legion Commander Darlene Ardron will give a greeting, and the Roll Call of the Deceased will be read by the Post Chaplain. Officiating clergy, Rev. Linda Rackliffe, will read the benediction. The National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner” will be played by the Blackhawk Marching Band.
Three American Legion Boys’ State delegates – John Heggie, Cole Rice and Daniel Woodford – will recite Pledge of Allegiance and Gettysburg Address. Girls’ State delegate, Lacey Hathaway, will recite the war poem, “In Flanders Fields.”
This year's principle address will be presented by guest speaker, Gregory A. Johnson, US Air Force LTC Retired, Persian Gulf War veteran. The Oxford Academy and Central High School Marching Band will provide patriotic music under the direction of Julie Solomon, High School Band Instructor, and Assistant Marching Band Director, Matthew Acenowr.
The Oxford Academy Marching Band will proceed to McDonough to march in the Memorial Day Parade there at 11 a.m.
An after-the-parade BBQ chicken Legion fundraiser will be ready at 9 a.m., on the Route 12 side of the Post 376 Legion,
Following the Riverview Cemetery ceremony, Legion members will visit the NYS Veterans’ Home residents. The color guard, selected clergy and guest speakers will hold a memorial service at 11 a.m. in the recreation room.
Color guard members will travel to the Warn Ten Broeck Cemetery (seven miles south of Oxford), to place a wreath and to salute the deceased.
For more info, contact Post 376, Darlene Ardron: 843-8237, Ron Blanford: 843-2275 or (Legion) 843-8166; or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit oxford-ala.chenango.org/