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Jim Lafayette

By PJ Ferguson

Whitehall’s Memorial Day services will be much different than years’ past, says American Legion Post 83 chairman Jim Lafayette.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no parade or luncheon will occur this year.

“There has been a parade for as long as I can remember and I am 73-years-old,” said Lafayette who has been involved in the Memorial Day services since he was a young boy.

With the current New York Pause order being extended to May 15, just weeks before Memorial Day, it has made planning for the holiday “difficult.”

A “scaled-down service” will still be held to “honor our deceased veterans,” Lafayette said, and the Legion plans on going forward with its tradition of placing flags on veterans’ graves.

“We will be without the assistance of the Boy and Girl Scouts but the officers and members of American Legion Post 83 will not let veterans’ graves go undecorated,” he said.

Lafayette is welcoming volunteers but would ask that they wear masks and practice social distancing protocol while aiding the Legionaires.

As the event draws closer, Lafayette will provide information to the Times on when and where volunteers will assemble to begin placing flags in local cemeteries.

Additionally, the Legion is requesting donations for pole flags to be placed around the village, due to a lack of funding in this year’s village budget. The village has funded the flags for many years but budget restrictions have resulted in the board requesting help from the Legion to fund the project.

Due to the pandemic closing the Legion’s doors over the past month, they too are short on the necessary funds thus the request for donations.

“As of this writing we lack about $400 of the funding needed to complete this project,” said Lafayette, “We thank those who have already donated.”

The Legion is requesting donations by mail to 148 Main Street, Whitehall, NY 12887.

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