Fallen soldiers recognized at Gloversville event

GLOVERSVILLE – A crowd gathered in the Prospect Hill Cemetery on Monday to honor those who have fallen in wars both foreign and civil as part of the Gloversville Memorial Day celebrations.

Mayor Dayton King, in a speech to the crowd, said while Memorial Day is a day of celebration, it also is a day of recognition.

“As my family and I walked along Kingsboro Avenue today, we noticed all of the children and their parents lining the road, waving their flags as the bands and the firetrucks passed by. This afternoon, many of us will enjoy a cookout and maybe spend some time with friends and family members we don’t get to see very often,” King said. “I’d like to take a moment to recognize some of the soldiers from our city who served for our country.”

King said among those from the city who served was Richard S. Oaksford, who served during World War II. He served as part of the 7th Armored Division, earning a Silver Star and a Purple Heart before he was killed in action on Dec. 18, 1944, in the Battle of the Bulge.

Another man who served was William J. Boles, a member of the 45th Infantry Division serving in Italy. He was killed in action on Dec. 19, 1943.

“All of these men were different, but they shared this in common: They loved America very much. No matter if they served in World War II, the Korean War or Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan or Iraq, there was nothing these men or women wouldn’t do for our country,” King said.

Jennifer Wojeski, an attorney and veteran of the U.S. Navy, served as the keynote speaker. Serving in multiple offices in several different theaters, Wojeski left active duty in 2008.

Speaking to the crowd, Wojeski admitted she was having trouble describing her thoughts.

“I honestly thought the words would come easier. Memorial Day is about our fallen. It is about the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to serve our great nation,” Wojeski said.

However, Wojeski discussed other veterans as well as the fallen. Wojeski said during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom for every service member killed in action, seven were wounded.

“In addition to physical wounds, and estimated 400,000 service members suffer from combat related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Wojeski said, which totals to 16 percent of service members who were deployed.

“So what did these numbers tell me? They didn’t say I could forget about my fallen brothers and sisters. Never. But they did tell me limiting my remembrance and reflection today to only those who [died] does a great disservice to my suffering brothers and sisters that have seen the terror of war and returned home broken.”

The ceremony closed after wreaths were laid and a volley of gunshots were fired. Taps echoed throughout the cemetery as the ceremony ended.