Kingston’s Memorial Day Observance and Parade

By Miranda Reale

KINGSTON – Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony outside City Hall, Kingston Area Veterans Association President Bill Forte spoke of a Kingston High School alumnus who enlisted in the army; he was a trumpet player in the school band and would go on to serve in World War II, Vietnam and Korea playing in the United States Military’s band at West Point. “That man was my father,” Forte explained in his speech.

Forte’s father, Sergeant Joseph S. Forte retired in 1973, but his service to his fellow veterans did not end there. At a funeral in Kingston, he watched as an honor guard performed military honors in which a cassette player was used to play taps, then volunteered to play himself. “Over the next 48 years, my father volunteered to play taps at funerals, stopping only shortly after he reached age 91,” Forte recalled.

A swelling sense of pride exuded from Forte as he described the special bond shared between veterans. “There is an unbreakable bond between veterans that survives time, race, religion, geography, and social standing. An unbreakable bond forged in times of joy and triumph And in trying times. An unbreakable bond made stronger from our common experiences, frustrations, and commitment to serve a nation that we so dearly love, ”he said.

Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony was part of the holiday events that also included a parade that went up Broadway from City Hall and wound its way through Uptown before finishing at Dietz Stadium.

The common experience shared by veterans does not just have to do with the commitment and dreams shared, but also in ways that are closer to home and perhaps less expected.

Forte had a message for those in power, and referenced the promises made to the 27 million veterans and then weren’t kept, like delivering timely health care. “Let us never forget that our government made promises to us and our families. Commitments that Commitments like timely access to quality healthcare in veterans hospitals, qualified veterans must wait six to nine months to get care at some VA hospitals, ”he said.

Following the speech, the ceremony honored George J. Habernig, a World War II veteran who will turn 103 on Wednesday, June 1. Habernig was the grand marshall for the parade and was also named Honorary Mayor of the Day in a proclamation by Mayor Steve Noble outside City Hall. The ceremony was part of the holiday events that also included a parade that went up Broadway from City Hall and weaved its way through Uptown before finishing at Dietz Stadium.

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