Livingston County Veterans Memorial: Dedication scheduled for Flag Day | Local News
MOUNT MORRIS – Finally, Livingston County officials will come together to dedicate the Livingston County Veterans Memorial at the County Roads Department, 4389 Gypsy Lane, Mount Morris.
Scheduled for June 14 to coincide with Flag Day – the day in 1777 when the Continental Congress voted to adopt what would become the American flag – the ceremony is held both to dedicate the monument and to show appreciation for everyone who helped make this a reality.
“Celebrating the Veterans Memorial on Flag Day is very fitting as Mount Morris is the birthplace of Francis Bellamy, author of the Oath of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,” said Jason Skinner , Livingston County Director of Veterans Services, who helped lead the creation of the monument. “Livingston County is a truly patriotic community.
Skinner first pitched an idea for a poppy monument in October 2018 to Olie Olson, a metal trades instructor at the Mount Morris Career and Technical Education Center. Olson came up with the idea for an American Flag monument made of metal poppies and, along with his teaching assistant Rory Benkleman, volunteered to open his after school class to teach and help veterans to make the poppies.
The veterans eventually made about 250 poppies, which were installed in October 2020. Standing 1 to 3 feet tall, the poppies are designed to swing in the breeze to mimic a waving American flag. Metal red poppies are placed along seven red stripes, while six white stripes provide a walking path for sightseeing. A blue canton, reserved for ceremonies, is surrounded by branch flags.
Each of the poppies is an individual tribute, created by some 160 veterans and their families. Each poppy is labeled with the name of one or more veterans – either the one who made the poppy or the names of the veterans they wished to honor.
County officials had hoped to dedicate the monument on Veterans Day in 2019, but a winter storm forced them to cancel it.
Undeterred, members of the Geneseo American Legion and Foreign War Veterans’ Posts helped organize an impromptu flag raising, or “call to the colors,” on the monument – and the poppies that had been temporarily installed in wooden racks – on the occasion of the 100th anniversary. of Veterans Day. About 40 people gathered in sub-zero temperatures amid the windswept snow for the brief ceremony.
Officials then hoped to dedicate the monument to Veterans Day 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic has blocked those plans. The June 14 ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and will serve as the monument’s official dedication.
The following people are expected to speak at the ceremony:
m Gary Anderson: Keynote speaker, retired US Marine Corps Colonel (1969-2000)
m Olie Olson: Metal Trades Instructor, Mount Morris Career and Technical Education Center, Poppy Project Manager
m Julie Donlon: Deputy Director, Genesee Valley BOCES
m Don Higgins: retired Livingston County highway superintendent, US Marine Corps veteran (1970-1972); project participant
m Thomas J. Dougherty: Sheriff of Livingston County
m Michael J. Falk: City Supervisor of Lima, Captain of the United States Army, Gulf War Veteran (1988-1993), Project Participant
m Andrea Bailey: Acting Livingston County Clerk
m Laura Stradley: CEO of the Veterans Outreach Center, US Army Veteran (eight years)
Those wishing to attend the ceremony are asked to wear a mask if they have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs will be on hand to offer the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to any veteran or spouse of a veteran who wishes to receive one. In addition, the Veterans Outreach Center will provide hot dogs and refreshments for participants.