Memorial Day ceremony held at former Hempstead County Courthouse

A Memorial Day ceremony was held near the monuments at the former Hempstead County Courthouse Monday morning. Among the speakers were Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton, who gave the opening prayer, County Judge and Vietnam Veteran Jerry Crane and Hope Mayor Don Still. 

The ceremony included the presentation of the colors by Scout Troop 5, a pledge of allegiance to the flag, a rousing rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” by Jennifer Taylor and a respectful retirement of the flag by the scout troop’s Mary Martinez who explained the symbolism involved in the way American flags are retired. 

“As you can see, our flag has been separated into three sections,” Martinez said. “The red stripes, the white stripes and the blue and stars. We mostly separate the colors to make it easier to retire them. But they do each represent something. 

“The red represents valor and bravery. The white represents purity and innocence. Lastly, the blue is for vigilance, perseverance and justice. You may notice that the blue and stars were still intact unlike the stripes. Keeping them together that way symbolizes that the unity of our nation should never be broken.” 

Hempstead County Veterans’ Services Officer Donna Rosenbaum, herself a Gold Star parent because of the loss of her son Chad in the Iraq War, introduced Crane who shared his account of the deaths of several friends with whom he served.  Then he pointed out that for many veterans the war continues after their removal from combat service. He also saluted the sacrifices and contributions by women to America’s military campaigns. 

“People that are out and about today,” Crane said. “What they need to remember is that freedom, for them to be able to do what they're doing, freedom that we can go to church, freedom that we can have family reunions, freedom that we can vote how we want to vote, all of that is part of what they died for. So let's remember those that gave the ultimate.” 

A wreath memorializing veterans' sacrifices was presented. After this, a 21-gun salute was given by members of the local police agencies in three volleys. 

Mayor Still said the closing prayer.