WATERLOO REMEMBERS SOLDIERS’ SACRIFICES
151st ANNUAL MEMORIAL DAY COMMEMORATION
Following the weekend of celebration, the Birthplace of Memorial Day pauses to remember the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. The 151st solemn remembrance of Memorial Day in Waterloo will be observed on Tuesday May 30. The American Legion will conduct this years remembrance events. Memorial Day is always commemorated on May 30 in Waterloo, in keeping with Gen. John A. Logan’s Orders.
9:00 – 11:00am Military Services conducted at village cemeteries:
St. Mary’s; Maple Grove; Elisha Williams
The solemn remembrance will continue at 6 p.m. when the military parade steps off from Main and Clark streets, proceeding down Main Street to Lafayette Park where several veterans organizations will participate in the laying of the wreaths at the veterans monuments in the park. The program will include the recitation of the Gettysburg Address and Logan’s Orders by students from Waterloo High School, Speeches by honored dignitaries, the playing of the National Anthem by the high school band, Salute to the Dead gun vollies by the veteran led honor guard and the playing of Taps.
This years Featured Speaker: Ralph Calabrese Sr. Korean War Veteran
Ralph Calabrese is a “Veteran’s Veteran”. He was born on March 10, 1929, in Geneva, NY. Ralph attended St. Francis DeSales grade and high schools. In October of 1949, he married his childhood sweetheart, Carmella Mary Bruna, and was happily married to her for 65 years until she passed in April 2014. They had two boys, Ralph Jr. and Dominic.
When the Korean war started in 1950, Ralph felt the calling to defend his country in its time of need and enlisted in the U. S. Army. He bravely served for two years with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. For his valor and meritorious service during the conflict, CPL Calabrese received several decorations, including the Bronze Service Star, the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.
After returning home to Waterloo, Ralph remained committed to his fellow veterans by joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and later became a member of the Korean War Veterans Chapter 1 of the Finger Lakes.
In 1980 he moved to Canandaigua, NY to be closer to his children and to reduce his monthly phone bill, which at times was the size of a third world countries GNP. Simple economics was the cure and the rest we say is history.
In 1992 Ralph officially retired from his union construction career and started to concentrate and dedicate more time to the VA and veterans. In 1999 when the VA Administration started denying veterans hospital and health care, Ralph began organizing our elected officials from Albany to Washington, DC to take up the fight for our veterans. Ralph’s most concerted effort centered on keeping the VA doors open at the Canandaigua VA. Ralph, through a grassroots program throughout the Finger Lakes area, secured over 108,000 letters of support for the local VA. These letters were subsequently forwarded up the chain of command to the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) Commission. It is because of his diligence and perseverance that not only the Canandaigua VA remained operational, but with expanded services. It now also serves as the national headquarters for suicide prevention.
Ralph has received several accolades for his unselfish dedication. In 2011 he was named “Mr. Canandaigua”. In 2012 he was inducted into the NYS Veteran’s Hall of Fame. In 2014 he was awarded the Ambassador of Peace by the South Korean President. In 2016 he was presented with a special U. S. Flag flown over the Capital in recognition of his unselfish dedication and service to the veterans.
Ralph’s countless thousands of volunteer hours can’t be properly recorded, but what he has accomplished is certainly commendable.
May 26-28, 2017151st Consecutive
Memorial Day Observance
May 30, 2017