Memorial Day event in Gerry will be reduced | News, Sports, Jobs
GERRY — For two decades, three local residents who support veterans have helped make the Gerry Memorial Day Parade and cemetery service a community tradition.
However, the iconic weekend event will be scaled back this year and may be completely changed in the future.
“We had COVID and couldn’t do it and last year it was the same,” said Cherin Mehs who, along with David and Cindy Hall, form the three-member Gerry Memorial Day Parade committee.
Citing their age, Mehs said the decision was made to scale back the event this year – scrapping the annual parade, which she says should also help many veterans who participate and sometimes have difficulty completing the route. .
“Doing everything is too much – it’s a lot of work”, Mehs spoke of the months of planning required to organize the festivities.
Although no parade is scheduled this year, the annual service at Gerry Cemetery is still on Sunday, May 29.
Mehs and the Halls held the first Memorial Day parade and service in 2000. For Mehs, the hours of work put into the first event were worth it.
“My dad was a WWII Navy veteran and I was raised to respect and honor veterans,” said Mehs. “My stepfather went to France and helped clean it up.”
She added, “This country, what we have, we wouldn’t have without them. They gave so much.
Mehs and David Hall appeared before Gerry City Council in March to discuss the future of the Memorial Day Parade. Part of the discussion included handing over the reins to another organization to ensure the parade, and possibly the cemetery service, would continue in Gerry.
“We will help and work with anyone who takes over,” said Mehs. “We will guide them and be involved for as long as we can.”
A notice looking for someone to organize the Memorial Day Parade was posted on the Town of Gerry’s website. However, city supervisor Richard Heath noted that it was probably too late for a parade to take place this year.
Heath acknowledged the efforts made to bring the annual event to Gerry.
“They did a wonderful job” Heath said. “I speak on behalf of the board – everyone appreciates what he’s done. We need to find someone to fill these shoes.
Mehs is proud of the work done by the committee and his legacy within Gerry. In the fifth year of the event, in 2005, a monument to veterans was dedicated at the cemetery, which Mehs cited as the group’s greatest accomplishment.
“The day we dedicated the monument, I stood there with tears,” she says. “It was something we worked so hard for and here it came to fruition. We got what we wanted – we wanted to honor them.
For Memorial Day events, Mehs said, “It’s one of the things I’ll remember when I’m gone as something I accomplished, where I left a little mark. We started the parade in 2000; the following year, we lined the streets with American flags; in 2005 we had the veterans memorial.
Anyone, group or organization interested in resuming the Gerry Memorial Day parade and service can contact Mehs at 716-985-4257.