By ALVIN REINER
---- — WADHAMS — Old Glory stood at attention in the stiff breeze as a fitting salute Sunday at the Essex County Veterans’ Cemetery to both veterans and those now serving in our nation’s armed forces.
Master of ceremonies Newman Tryon of the Boquet Valley American Legion told the gathering that the eight-acre Veterans’ Cemetery in Wadhams, which now inters 30 veterans, was donated to the Elizabethtown American Legion Post in 1989 by Sandra Anson with the stipulation that it be kept forever as a veterans cemetery. A portion is reserved as an Anson family burial plot. In 2005, it was deeded to Essex County, with representatives from military organizations helping to manage the cemetery.
The flag flew at half mast to honor the memory of U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Dain Venne of Moriah, killed Nov. 3 by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Lewis Town Supervisor David Blades, who as a counselor at Moriah Central School knew Venne, eulogized the fallen hero.
“Dain excelled in academics as well as participated in three high school sports. He had attributes that every parent would want to see in their son,” he said. “Dain treated all with respect and mentored the younger students. Humanity has lost a fine young person. We can only hope that no other family has to have uniformed soldiers knock on their door.”
Elizabethtown Town supervisor Margaret Bartley read a proclamation from Gov. Andrew Cuomo honoring the more than 900,000 New York veterans.
Andy Joachim eulogized Master Sgt. Phillip K. McKinney, of Lake Placid, who died in April.
“(McKinney was) a shining example of what it is to be a real man and an exemplary human being. Phil was intelligent, selfless and brave on the battlefield, as well as generous, kind and hardworking, unassuming and appreciative of all that was done for him in his community.”
In WWII, McKinney single-handedly captured two German tanks and their crews. He served in North Africa and at the Battle of the Bulge. In the Korean Conflict, though severely wounded, he took over the role of platoon leader and repelled an attack. Among McKinney’s commendations were four Purple Hearts and three Silver Stars.
Kimberly Matthews played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, which was followed by a firing squad salute comprised of members of American Legion Posts 1319 of Lewis and Elizabethtown Post 551. Lew “Bud” Egglefield played “Taps” on the trumpet.
Tryon, who is also post chaplain, concluded the ceremony with a prayer that paid respects to departed comrades.
“Remember the good deeds they accomplished. Let us revere them,” he said.
Email Alvin Reiner: firstname.lastname@example.org.