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Ossining Residents Pay Respect On Memorial Day

As Memorial Day flag bearers marched by, Ossining residents paid respects this morning to men and women, including loved ones, who had died during wars.

“This is a day to set back and remember everyone who has been of sacrifice, and to stop and think and be with your family and be glad that you have them,” said Tony Corda who watched the parade from the corner of Main Street and South Highland Avenue.

Down the street, Jacob Goodwin was out with his young daughter telling her what Memorial Day is about.

“I told my little girl this morning about all those people who may have been hurt protecting our freedom,” he said.

Robert Johnson, a member of the U.S. Marines, watched the parade with his 18-month son from the porch of his mother’s house on Spring Street.

“It gives you a sense of honor to know that they all died for something, for a cause, and it’s good to have a day like this to remember them,” he said. “There comes a time when I will have to leave my son too.”

A memorial ceremony at Nelson Park led by Michael O’Connor, Ossining’s superintendent of highways who is a Vietnam veteran, was held under cloudy skies after morning thunderstorms had cleared up.

Names of Ossining residents who had died in all wars from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq wars were read out, and wreaths were placed underneath a flag.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, Miguel Hernandez, a former mayor of Ossining who is a military historian, commemorated Reverend Henry Duers, a freed slave who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War and later settled in Ossining.

“We should see this day as much more than a patriotic celebration. It’s an opportunity to learn lessons of the past, and to serve as teachers of examples so that the sacrifices of others is not forgotten,” Hernandez said.

Over 600,000 people died during the Civil War. According to O’Connor, the village of Ossining was the most populous community in Westchester during that time and contributed many resident soldiers to the war.

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