American Legion And VFW Honor Veterans At Memorial Day Service
Published: May 30th, 2023
By: Sarah Genter

American Legion and VFW honor veterans at Memorial Day service Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient Lt. Frank Revoir, Sr. served as Master of Ceremonies for Norwich's Memorial Day services in West Park on Monday, May 29. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — The Norwich American Legion Post 189 and Christy Rock Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2782 held a Memorial Day service in Norwich's West Park on Monday, May 29.

The service honored fallen service members with opening and closing benedictions by Acting Legion Auxiliary Unit 189 Chaplain Charlene LaFever, the Pledge of Allegiance presented by American Legion Post 189 Adjuvant Edwin J. Tucker, a firearms salute from the Honor Guard, a playing of "Taps" by Boy Scout Troop 62 members William Lindner and Joseph Paul, and other services.

Vietnam combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient Lt. Frank Revoir, Sr. served as Master of Ceremonies for the service.

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"Again, our nation has assembled to honor its heroic dead. 1,000 battles of land, sea, and air echo the glory of their valiant deeds," said Revoir. "Under the quiet sod or beneath the murmuring waves, their bodies sleep in peace. But in the destiny of veterans, they’re souls go marching on. Because of them our lives are free. Because of them our nation lives."

This year's guest speaker was retired US Air Force Colonel Dale G. Gray.

"In many towns and cities across this great nation, Memorial Day is marked by parades, speeches, and wreath laying ceremonies. These serve as solemn reminders of the sacrifices made by the men and women who have died in service to our country, and a time for us to reflect on the true cost of freedom," said Gray. "Today, we honor these heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage, their dedication, and to say thank you.

"We stand in the midst of patriots and family and friends of those who have nobly served. These service members we honor today came from all walks of life, but they shared some fundamental qualities: they possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, and dedication to duty, honor, and country. All qualities needed to serve a cause far larger than oneself."

The service also included a presentation of the Honor and Remember flag, which was flown on the East Park flagpole beneath the American Flag.

The flag includes a red field to represent the blood spilled by service members; a blue star to represent active service and military conflict; a white border to signify the purity of sacrifice; a gold star to represent the ultimate sacrifice of a soldier lost in battle; a folded flag to represent the final tribute given to a soldier lost in battle; and a flame that serves as an eternal reminder of the spirit that has left, but remains in the memory of loved ones of the fallen soldier.

The flag was presented by North Norwich Supervisor Robert Wansor, as well as Run for the Fallen participants Alicia Mullins and Jessica Jaquay.

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"The US flag, when it’s removed from the coffin of a fallen soldier, is folded in a very special way, and handed to the family member, never to be unfolded. The Honor and Remember flag works in the opposite way," explained Wansor. "This is a flag that can be flown on Memorial Day, birthday, date of death, other significant times. It can be kept open inside the house."

Wansor also gave a presentation on the Run for the Fallen program, an annual run that honors fallen soldiers by name. A team of approximately 25 runners will run from June 8 through June 11, from Watertown to Syracuse to Saratoga.

Every few miles, the team will stop at designated "Hero Stops" that are dedicated to fallen soldiers from New York. At each stop, their names will be read out loud to pay tribute to their sacrifice. This year, the New York Run for the Fallen will be honoring 1,343 soldiers lost in combat or as a result of military service, training accidents, illnesses, and suicide.

At some stops, Wansor said Gold Star Families will be present for the tributes. Those families will be presented with Honor and Remember flags embroidered with their loved one's name, branch of service, and date of death.

More information on the Run for the Fallen program can be found at

Wansor and Mullins also read a proclamation from the Chenango County Board of Supervisors proclaiming May as National Military Appreciation Month in Chenango County.

"Whereas the sense of wellbeing, freedom, and love of country that citizens of the United States enjoy today are the result of personal sacrifice, lives changed or lost, and ongoing vigilance given by the United States Armed Forces over the history of our great nation in caring for and honoring always our military during and after one's service," read Mullins.

"[We] encourage the people of each state to dedicate themselves to the values and principles for which Americans have served throughout the history of the nation," read Wansor. "In this highly effective way, we may sustain with hope and dignity the morale and improve the quality of life and wellbeing for service members and their families, for most assuredly they are our most precious national assets of interest to be protected always and forevermore."

Monday's service included a wreath laying ceremony honoring veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, the War on Global Terrorism, and veterans from all other wars and military operations. Additionally, a wreath in honor of veterans lost in World War I was placed in front of the World War I monument in East Park.

After Monday's service, the American Legion Post 189 conducted a memorial service for service members buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, and the VFW did the same for veterans buried at St. Paul's Cemetery. A floating wreath was also placed in Canasawacta Creek in honor of service members lost at sea.

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Revoir also provided a final roll call tribute to members of the American Legion Post 189, VFW Post 2782, and other area veterans who have passed away since Memorial Day 2022.

Those honored included Ronald Francis Smith, US Army; Melvin Westley Davis, US Navy; Angelo Muserelli, US Navy, WWII; Robert S. Despres, US Army, Vietnam; Charles W. "Scrapper" Jeffrey, US Army, Korea; Gary D. Smith, US Air Force, Vietnam; Jeffrey L. Cross, US Army, Vietnam; Gerald Wolfe, US Army; Robert Daniel Graef, US Marine Corps., Vietnam; Nicholas Parks, Jr., US Marine Corps., Vietnam; Kenneth P. Merchant, Jr., US Navy, WWII; Robert Edward Kirkby, US Army, Korea; and Rena L. Gracin, US WWII Uniformed Cadet Nursing Corp.