Memorial Day Parade & Cookout 2018 hosted by American Legion

by Jane Ahrens

The annual Memorial Day Parade festivities began at noon Sunday, May 27, 2018 at the Alfred R. Grebe Post 1045 of the American Legion despite the wet and uncharacteristic cold weather.

Fishers Island Fire Commissioner John Klimczak, acting as master of ceremonies, welcomed everyone to American Legion Post #1045 prior to the Fishers Island Memorial Day parade with The Reverend Kricia Burnham.

The old large cannon that has historically been used to officially start the parade has been retired and Jimmy Ski set up a smaller one for the occasion. American Legion adjutant commander Tim Patterson set off the cannon and rest assured, it is just as loud!

John Klimczak said, “Thank you for joining us for the Alfred R. Grebe American Legion Post #1045 Memorial Day parade and ceremony. The Legion, along with our color guard as well as our rifle corps, welcome you to this special occasion. This is a national ritual, a tradition among Americans of every race and heritage.”

Click any photo to see a larger image.
Photo Credit: Jane T. Ahrens

The parade of volunteer Fire Department members, Fire District Commissioners, island clergy, and onlookers proceeded to the Village Green, led by the color guard and Chief Bruce Hubert and Asst. Chief Jeff Edwards, for the laying of the wreath and gun salute of remembrance.

Before leaving the Green a Salute the Dead with three volleys was completed with Joe Rogan giving commands for Luis Horn with veterans Patty Walker and Tim Patterson.

Taps was played by Fishers Island School Music Teacher Chris Dollar who is an AEMT and EMS Captain in the Fishers Island Fire Department.

“This is a time of special remembrance of the supreme sacrifices of those soldiers, men and women, who have lost their lives overseas in the war against terrorism and oppression.” ~ American Legion

The community remembered the loss of loved ones who have passed this year that served our country and who have helped make a difference to the Fishers Island community in years gone by.

Robert Wall served in the U.S Army and was on active duty in South Korea during the Vietnam era.  Bob was also a long-standing member of the Fishers Island fire department for over 50 years, serving as department chief and captain of the Sea Stretcher.

A “wreath laying at sea” ceremony took place during the Sea Stretcher’s Sunday morning check-run earlier in the morning with Captain Steve Malinowski and Navigator Dirk Harris. Members of the Wall family attended in memory of Bob Wall. Bob’s siblings Patty Faulkner, Jimmy Wall and Billy Wall, with Billy’s wife Kristin, honored Bob during this ceremony.

Richard Baker served in the U.S. Army and was on active duty in Europe during WWII. Dick was a longstanding member of the Fishers Island Fire Department for over 50 years as well as being the treasurer of Union Chapel during the same time period, and was active in many community and charitable activities.

A wreath laid by the Baker family at the American Legion in memory and honor of Dick Baker before the parade.  Attending was son Jim Baker, his wife Diane, and Dick’s granddaughters Kristina Baker and Caroline Selwood, and her husband Pat Selwood.

Charlie Ferguson served in the Signal Corps during WWII coordinating messages from radio operators behind enemy lines about Japanese troop movements, work which earned him a Bronze Star. An accomplished artist, Charlie shared his gifts with the Fishers Island community and beyond.

Wayne Doucette was an active member of the Fishers Island Fire Department for 32 years, serving 6 terms as Fire Chief. Wayne was a humble public servant who always shared his knowledge and experience and sought to contribute to the Fishers Island community with pride and without recognition. A wreath in honor and memory of Wayne was placed at the monument to WWII vets at the Green by his widow Jamie.

As they returned to the Legion, John Klimczak introduced longtime Fishers Island resident, community leader and American veteran Tim Patterson who bravely and selflessly served in the Vietnam War. Tim shared his Memorial Day message including how he remembered as a very young child, wanting so badly for his father to return from the service. He reminded those present to be grateful for all who have served and are continuing to serve, every day. Taking out of context a quote from John Milton: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”  Tim suggested that we are honoring not only the fallen, but also those wounded in body or spirit and the families of those who did not return.

The Legion members with their volunteers hosted their annual community picnic cookout following the ceremony.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the American Legion Post 1045, please contact Legion member Patty Walker at 404-694-1054.

A Memorial Event Thank You Note

The Fishers Island Memorial parade and picnic events would not be possible without a big effort from many individuals. The American Legion Post 1045 members, the Fishers Island Fire Department members, Sea Stretcher crew, and all the volunteers who stepped up and pitched in. At the risk of leaving someone off by accident, these community members include, in no particular order:

Patty Walker, Tim Patterson, Bob Rogers, Debbie & John Doucette, John Klimczak, Rev. Krisia Burnham, Bob Brooks, Joe Rogan, Dee Ross, Beth Stern, Luis Horn, Mere Doyen, Tommy Doyen, Seth Allan, Drew Norton, Di Shillo, Brandy Walker, Tom Kexel, Kristen Peterson, Mary Ski, John Ski, Jimmy Ski, Tiggy Ski, Chief Bruce Hubert, Dave Denison, Jeff Edwards, Steve Malinowski, Dirk Harris, Chris Dollar, Jane Ahrens, Ace Ahrens, Michele Klimczak, Matt Edwards, Mary Shields, Trooper Charlie Witczak, JR Edwards, Aaron & Sue Lusker, and the Fishers Island School students who assisted at the picnic.

If anyone’s name was not included that should be, please email ASAP!

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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