Memorial Day may look different, but our gratitude remains the same

PULASKI, NY —  Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay released the following statement on Friday, May 22:

This year, our Memorial Day celebrations are going to look vastly different from those in years past. Gatherings of any kind during the COVID-19 outbreak are uniquely challenging, especially ones that normally involve close social interactions between family and friends. However, the spirit of Memorial Day carries on. The way we recognize the brave men and women who have died serving our great nation may be different, but our gratitude will remain the same.

Memorial Day, in any iteration, is a reminder we owe so much to those who died protecting our freedoms. Despite significant changes to some traditions and annual events, there are still opportunities to celebrate the holiday in our communities. For example, the Oswego Elks Lodge will be giving out flags to those who would like to place one at a veteran’s gravesite.

Also, residents will be able to enjoy a touching five-plane flyover salute honoring fallen veterans. A group of private planes, featuring veteran pilots from the Vietnam War, will begin their flights of recognition at 11:45 a.m. on Monday at an airstrip in Red Creek, and the planes will circle over a number of area municipalities including Hannibal, Fulton, Oswego, North Rose and other locations.

Each gesture of gratitude, public or private, carries great meaning. We do these things because of the sacrifices our fallen heroes have made on our behalf, to protect American values and our way of life. This Memorial Day, let us honor the soldiers who gave their lives for us by drawing on their bravery as we move forward in our state and nation’s recovery.

And, we must not forget the sacrifices of the military families who have endured great hardships. The support our soldiers receive from home is critical, and the role of a military family is invaluable. Military personnel and their families frequently go months, or longer, without seeing their loved ones. Sadly, too often, they may no longer get to see them at all. This weekend, please keep in mind all of the families who have suffered those losses.

I have enormous respect and gratitude for our armed forces; its members have put themselves in harm’s way time and again to protect the democracy, freedom and prosperity we enjoy at home. Tragically, too many have done so by giving up their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice. This Memorial Day, please join me in remembering each of them in whatever way you can.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069 and by email at You may also find me, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, on Facebook or on Twitter at @WillABarclay.