GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich said Wednesday that this year’s Memorial Day Parade will happen.
This development comes just one day after Reilich announced the parade would be canceled.
Town officials sent out a statement Tuesday, saying, “Health and safety is our priority. Our participants, our veterans, many of whom are in their senior years, are health and safety conscious of all who participate and we thought it best to air on the side of caution.”
However, after hearing feedback from Greece residents, Reilich said he and the parade oragnizers decided to go on with the event as planned.
The Memorial Day Parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 31st. The parade will be followed by our Memorial Service at 11:45 a.m.
Reilich’s full statement
Yesterday our current Commander Dadson, Jr. and incoming Commander Ed Wawrzaszek and I announced the painful decision we had come to regarding the Memorial Day events in the Town of Greece. We made the decision based on the ever-changing COVID rules and regulations, the fact that the City of Rochester had already cancelled their event in March and that the last several weeks we have seen local parades and festivals cancelled as well as County wide festivals cancelled because of the uncertainty of the State and Federal Rules and Regulations. Indeed we erred on the side of caution not wanting to cause any risk or harm to our residents.
Late yesterday, however, I carefully watched as our Greece residents expressed their grave disappointment in the decision. While there were several residents that were thankful for the decision, the majority, whether expressed politely or not, did not want Memorial Day to pass without gathering with their friends and neighbors. There was one resident in particular that asked if we could somehow “meet in the middle.” I held her comments close in making the decision to meet about whether we could now pull this event together in such a short span of time.
What also played an important factor in changing our decision was that someone on the page shared a statement from the Director of the Veteran’s Service Agency, and he stated:
“I’ve gotten a few messages about the cancellation of a Memorial Day event in the Town of Greece. I don’t know the logistics for specific towns nor do I know their internal decision, however I can say with great confidence that Monroe County is encouraging people to enjoy Memorial Day outdoors and to have events in a safe manner. There are many towns that will be holding Memorial Day events and I hope to see you at all of them. Again to be clear, there is no restriction that results in the cancellation of outdoor Memorial Day events”.
This was music to my ears and the first clear statement that we could attempt to move forward with a plan. In our county-wide group Supervisor’s email questions were being posed as to whether any towns were having their celebrations or not, I guess his response helps us answer the very question of what we can and can’t do.
As I have often shared, I am the proud son of a twice-wounded WWII veteran, though my dad seldom spoke of his days in service, my dad landed on the 2nd day of Normandy and I grew up in a household that valued those freedoms he fought to protect. I love this town and I have the utmost of respect for our men and women in the military.
I always appreciate hearing from everyone on any variety of topics. Yesterday, my social media was loud and clear; the residents in the town of Greece want to gather and give thanks and appreciation for those members of our armed forces that paid the ultimate sacrifice, they faced adversity and yet still saw and felt the passion to serve. Today in a very small way we too will stand up to the adversities brought about by the pandemic. We will choose to push ahead and we will host both a parade and our ceremony and in doing so we will try to make it worthy of the sacrifices made by those we have lost.
In short, we have listened to the loud cries in support of these events and the Commander and I are committed to making it happen. The Memorial Day Parade will commence at 11:00 am on Monday, May 31st. The parade will be followed by our Memorial Service at 11:45.
While much work will need to be done, we are up to the challenge. Please stay tuned for our schedule and bear with us as we prepare to seek permission for the road closures from the County, prepare invitations to our participants and prepare the necessary Town Board actions that will need to occur.
For those that are uncertain about gathering at this time, we understand and we will certainly make available a remote ceremony. And we are hopeful that each and every resident that wants to participate with us “in person” joins us. If we even have half of the folks show up on Memorial Day that made comments on the post, it truly will be one of the largest celebrations in support of our fallen heroes the town has seen in decades.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.