Parade Caps Day of Memorial Services

UTICA, May 28, 2012 – Two Korean War veterans led Utica's Memorial Day Parade on Monday afternoon, May 28, which capped a day of remembrance for Amercian servicemen and women who never made it home from war.

Preceded  by Utica Police and Fire Department Color Guards, Utica veterans Thomas O'Toole and Calvin Anacher led the 50-unit parade as grand marshals. Both men are long-time members of Utica Post 229. O'Toole has been a Legion member for 28 years, and Anacker, for 58 years.

O'Toole, then an Army sergeant, saw action as a tank commander in the area known as the Punchbowl, a basin surrounded on three sides by mountains. He served with the 224th Infantry Regiment, part of the 40th Infantry Division.

Anacker served in the Army and initially took part in Operation Blue Jay at Thule, Greenland in 1951, hauling supplies, cargo and materials needed to extend the airstrips there to accommodate theywhere he and his troops hauled supplies and materials to construct radar sites and extend airstrips in Newfoundland, Labrador, Baffin Island and Greenland.

Earlier in the day, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, Police Chief Mark Williams and Fire Chief Russell Brooks joined Army Private Taylor to kick off a series of memorial services at six monuments around Utica by placing a wreath at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Oneida Square.

Col. Gary Howard, a retired Army chaplain, and his assistant, Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Morrell, led the crowds of veterans, Gold Star Mothers and others in prayer at the sites, which  included the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Memorial 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.

Gold Star Mothers Shirley Jones and Mary Wheeler placed a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, with the assistance of City Court Judge Ralph Eannace and Memorial Day Chairman Paul Wojcik.

Jones and Wheeler also placed a wreath at the All Veterans Memorial, along with Vietnam Veterans of America Commander Tom Buono and former Air Force pilot Shirley Eadline, who represented Congressman Richard Hanna.

O'Toole and Anacker placed the wreath at the POW/MIA Monument; Utica Post Commander Chris Urban and Auxiliary President Peggy Kohler laid the wreath at the World War I/World War II/Korean War Monument; and Marine veteran Vin Egresits was joined by Air Force veteran Shirley Eadline from Congressman Hanna's office to present the wreath at the Purple Heart Memorial Park.

Utica Post 229 and the City of Utica co-sponsored the parade, which stepped off at Genesee and Eagle streets and continued up Genesee to the Parkway. The post also led a committee of veterans' organizations that planned the day's activities, with Paul Wojcik serving as chairman.

In addition to elected officials and a number of veterans groups (American Legion, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AmVets, Vietnam Veterans of America, Polish Legion of American Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League, and various Auxiliary Units), Wojcik said the parade featured Utica Police and Fire Departments, Oneida County Sheriff's Department, Rome Police, volunteer fire departments (Deerfield, New York Mills, Yorkville and Schuyler), Gold Star Mothers and Fathers, World War II veterans, Centro Bus, Clinton Collision, the Shriners’ Ziyara Zanies Motor Clowns, the Navy Jr. ROTC cadets from both Proctor and Notre Dame High Schools, POW/MIA floats, Army National Guard's 107th MP Company and 108th Infantry, U.S. Marine Corps recruiters, Central New York Veterans Outreach Center, Herkimer County Marine Corps League, Fort Schuyler Society/Children of the American Revolution, Boy Scout Troop 1531 and Cub Scout Pack 229, Utica AYSO Soccer, Masonic War Vets Post 55, Knights of Columbus Color Guard, Utica Post 229 Color Guard, Utica Post 229 Junior Poppy Princesses Katherine and Josephine Aney, American Legion Provost Post 1686, Walter Skiba Post PLAV #20 and Auxiliary, New York Mills VFW Post 7393, Karate USA students, La Banda Rosa, Proctor High School Marching Band, and Donovan JFK Middle School Marching Band, among others.

Photo Galleries

Mark Rahn
Carl Anacker & Tom O'Toole
Grand Marshals