Memorial Day weekend takes on new look with COVID-19

Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan, a West Point graduate, addresses the Memorial Day service Thursday night

KINGSTON – There were only a handful of people standing by the black granite columns in front of the Ulster County Office Building in Kingston on Thursday evening to honor those who have given their lives to protect and preserve our country.

Memorial Day weekend is taking on a different look this year thanks to COVID-19.

A color guard, a few veterans, and county employees numbering 10, the maximum allowed for a gathering in these pandemic times, paid tribute to those who fell from the American Revolution to the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Among those attending was County Executive Patrick Ryan, a West Point graduate who served in the Middle East.

“To me, Memorial Day is a day when Americans are supposed to evaluate and ultimately grapple with war’s true costs, and for so many of us – I know all of us here tonight for sure – these costs are deeply personal,” he told those in attendance as well as those watching a livestream of the ceremony. “Over the course of this weekend I will think of the names, faces and stories of those I know who made that ultimate sacrifice – West Point classmates, members of my unit, the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, and of course, those right here in Ulster County whose names are behind and around me.”

Those granite columns in front of the county building bear the names of over 1,300 Ulster County residents who have died in service since the birth of the United States.

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