Memorial Day

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Memorial Day is supposed to be a somber holiday in Central New York and elsewhere.  But this year it had even more of a solemn feeling, as the specter of COVID 19 deaths hung over the remembrance of the country’s war casualties.

Onondaga County Executive's Office / Youtube

As the community begins the Memorial Day weekend, the percentage of new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in Onondaga County increased again. Officials reported that 53% of new cases over the last three days are from people with no symptoms. This comes with recent implementation of universal testing in the community.

Memorial Day is seen by many as the unofficial start of summer ... and a time to get out and relax.  But it also brings with it certain safety threats.  This holiday weekend, the coronavirus pandemic might be adding some new risks to our safety. 

WAER File Photo

The Memorial Day Holiday weekend might present a challenge to the Phase-One Economic reopening here in Onondaga County and the rest of Central New York.  Local elected officials are concerned people will spend too much time outside, in public places, and relax their adherence to health and safety measures that allowed the region to reopen.

A Syracuse veteran who serve in the Marine Corps  for 16 years is urging Central New Yorkers to #gosilent this Memorial Day to remember those lost in combat.  Charlie Poag is a member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which is leading the effort.  Americans are urged to pledge a full minute of silence at 3:00 pm Monday. 

"Turn the TV off.  Pause Facebook.  Pause Twitter.  Just reflect on what we have here in this country and why."

Scott Willis / WAER News


(Editor's note: The original story was first broadcast and published June 6, 2016.  The following is an  update to reflect Lawrence Reilly, Sr's passing, and also to mark Memorial Day.)

 A World War II Navy Veteran who sought unsuccessfully for nearly 49 years to have his late son's name and 73 others added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall has died with that dream unfulfilled.  Lawrence Reilly, Sr. was 93 when he passed away Wednesday.

Provided photo/Scott Willis / WAER News

Central New Yorkers know the meaning behind Memorial Day…honoring those who died in combat.  But most families probably haven’t experienced that devastation firsthand. twice.  Not like the Bolen family.  First Lieutenant Edward J. Bolen was a student at Columbia University when he joined the Army Air Corps in February 1943.  After training and being stationed in the U.S., he flew his first overseas mission in January 1944.  His niece and family historian Mary Ellen Bolen Coon says he piloted a P-47 Thunderbolt, which served as a bomber and gunner.

Darlene Duprey / Duprey Video Productions

The Village of Waterloo is marking their 150th Anniversary observance of Memorial Day this weekend with much of the town center in red, white and blue.  According to Committee Co-Chair Dave Duprey, Civil War re-enactors are in town from all over the country for a remembrance ceremony tonight at 8 PM and throughout the weekend.

Rob Roman/WAER News

  Dozens of Memorial Day parades went on throughout Central New York yesterday.

The Memorial Day Parade in Camillus drew large crowds, including the West Genesee High School Marching Band.  

But the event was not all hot dogs and apple pie. Gulf War Air Force Veteran Eric Coburn remembered a friend who did not die in action overseas, but more recently.

The sight and sound filled my eyes and ears, a piece of America on Memorial Day Weekend so right.