Memorial Day Features Service for Fallen Viet Vets,
Wreath-laying at 6 Sites and Parade Up Genesee Street

UTICA, NY, May 24, 2011 -- The Memorial Day observance in Utica kicks off at 9 a.m. Monday, May 30, with a service for Oneida County's fallen Vietnam veterans at Utica Post 229, 409 Herkimer Road.

The service is being sponsored by Post 229 and the Vietnam Veterans of America/Utica Chapter 944.

Paul Wojcik
Paul Wojcik
Memorial Day Chair

Then wreath-laying ceremonies take place at six monuments around Utica, starting at 10:45 a.m. at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Oneida Square. The wreath-laying then moves, in order, to: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Parkway, the POW-MIA Monument on the Parkway, the World War I/World War II/Korean War Monument on the Parkway, the Purple Heart Park in West Utica, and the All Veterans Memorial at Utica’s Main Post Office on Pitcher Street.

A Memorial Day Parade, up Genesee Street from Oneida Square to the Parkway, caps off the day's events, starting at 2 p.m. This year's grand marshals are World War II veterans Phil Capraro and John Loperfido. The parade's theme is: "Honoring Our Past to Ensure Our Future: A Grateful Nation Remembers." Sponsored by Post 229 and the City of Utica, the parade is organized by a committee representing various veterans' organizations and chaired by Utica Post's Paul Wojcik.

Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the post that morning, and, for those members needing a ride to the wreath-laying, a bus will be at the post around 10:15.

In addition to numerous veterans groups and elected officials, Wojcik said, the parade typically features Utica Police and Fire Departments, New York State Police, Oneida County Sheriff's Department, several volunteer fire departments, Gold Star Mothers, Centro Bus, the Shriners’ Ziyara Zanies Motor Clowns, the Navy Jr. ROTC cadets from both Proctor and Notre Dame High Schools, POW/MIA floats, U.S. Army and National Guard contingents, Boy Scouts of America, the American Red Cross, La Banda Rosa, and school marching bands.

The parade committee members and their veterans affiliations are:

  • Paul Wojcik, chair, Post 229 and Oneida County Veterans Council.
  • Joe Fraccola, secretary-treasurer, Central NY Chapter 490, Military Order of the Purple Heart.
  • Carl Yeomans, parade coordinator, AmVets Post 6001.
  • John Ryan, Oneida County Voiture 92 of the 40 & 8.
  • Vince Zaleski, Utica Post 229.
  • Stan Bogdan, Walter Skiba Post #20 P.L.A.V. (Polish Legion of American Veterans)
  • Dan Pieloch, Walter Skiba Post #20 P.L.A.V.
  • Sean McGuirl, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 6001.
  • Dave Manore, Disable American Veterans (DAV) Stars & Stripes Chapter 82.