OXFORD – Memorial Day is an important day of recognition for our armed forces. It’s a day we remember and honor our country's heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.
On this Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, many homes and businesses along the parade route will be 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. Several activities -including four memorial services and a parade- will take place in Oxford, rain or shine, beginning at 8 a.m.
The Oxford American Legion’s Fort Hill Post will begin the day at 8 a.m. with the wreath laying ceremony and rifle salute at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery on West State Street.
The parade will line up at the Oxford American Legion Post # 376, at 17 South Washington Avenue. Stepping off at 9:30 a.m. (sharp), the parade will be led by the Village of Oxford Police Dept (lead parade vehicle), the Post #376 Honor Guard and Rifle Squad, Legionnaires, and the Auxiliary. The parade will feature the Village of Oxford Mayor Terry Stark and the Oxford Town Supervisor Lawrence Wilcox, veterans in cars as well as the NYS Veterans' Home bus, and three ALA Poppy Princesses. As always, the parade will feature the Oxford Academy Marching Blackhawks. Also marching will be the Village of Oxford Fire Department and the Fire Department Explorers. The Emergency Squad will be there with the Ambulance. The Oxford Free Masons of Lodge 175, Oxford Lions Club will be marching as will youth groups: the Little League, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and OYSP. Joining the parade once again will be Peter Van Buiten and his antique fire truck.
Along the parade route, be sure to wave to three generations of “Miss Poppy's” this year! Peggy Braman, mother to Taylor Simpson, and her daughter, three-year-old Allis May Montgomery. They are all members of the Oxford American Legion Auxiliary and proudly represent the poppy and what it stands for. Red crepe paper poppies will be distributed by Oxford Auxiliary members and volunteers, in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. Please give generously.
A salute honoring those who died at sea will be given at the Main Street Bridge (that crosses over the Chenango River). Oxford Legion’s Auxiliary president, Jan Pollard, 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 acting Post Chaplain, Fred Baker; Officiating clergy, Pastor Josh Rathmell of Faith Bible Church, will read the invocation and benediction. The National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner” will be played by the Blackhawk Marching Band.