To The Editor:
Only one day of the year is dedicated to honor those who made the supreme sacrifice. That special day is Memorial Day. During World War II, 76 Massena area boys made the supreme sacrifice; nine made the supreme sacrifice during the Korean war and seven made the supreme sacrifice during the Vietnam War. They must not be forgotten.
I remember the McGrath family who lived in our neighborhood. Patrick joined the army in May of 1942. He was assigned to the 82 Airborne Division. Patrick made landings in Sicily, Anzio Beach Head, France and Holland.
During an attack on a vital bridge on Sept. 17, 1944 in Holland, several men in his company were wounded by well concealed enemy machine gun fire. In order that his comrades might discover the location of the enemy machine guns, Private McGrath moved into an open field alone, thereby drawing heavy machine gun fire which enabled his comrades to locate the enemy positions. During his withdrawal, Private McGrath was fatally wounded by a burst of machine gun fire, but not before he had killed two enemy riflemen. His courageous action at the cost of his life aided Company Bs seizure of that bridge.
I remember the years following that war every store in Massena closed. Along the parade route in the downtown section people were three deep. Men along the parade route saluted the veterans marching in the parade. It was truly a sense of pride. America was free due to the heroic deeds of so many.
In recent years Memorial Day has become an opportunity to get away and enjoy the long weekend. It has also become an opportunity for retailers to have a SALE-A-BRATION. Those who served courageously so that we can live in freedom are forgotten. How sad.
Attend the Memorial Day parade and the ceremonies at the Veterans Park. Let us not forget the heroic men and women who preserved our freedom. A book titled Operation Remembrance of the Massena Area Combat Veterans From 1941 To 2009 can be found at the Massena Public Library.