FORTY FORT – One month ago an old flagpole at the Forty Fort Cemetery was covered by trees and had not been used for an unknown number of years. On Saturday the Board of Trustees of the Forty Fort Cemetery Association, along with state Rep. Phyllis Mundy and members of borough council and veterans groups, gathered to rededicate the flagpole back into the service for which it was intended, honoring borough veterans.
A new flag was raised on it in honor of borough resident Spc. Dominick Ligouri, who in May lost his battle with lung disease caused by his time in the field in Iraq, and Sgt. John Lynch, who was killed in Vietnam in 1969.
Ligouri's mother Andrea and Lynch's brother Ned stood stoically accepting a flag presented to them by Mundy.
"We will always remember and never take for granted the sacrifice of our military personnel," Mundy said as she handed them the flag. They saluted with dignity as it was raised to the playing of taps.
Andy Tuzinski, from the cemetery board of trustees, said he and his wife Suzie discovered the flagpole during a recent cleanup. After reviewing old records and maps they noticed it was located in an area designated as "Soldiers and Sailors Memorial."
Tuzinski said the association reached out to local businesses and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 283 in Kingston to get help in resurrecting the flagpole site.
He said Kuharchik Construction donated time and equipment to clear the spot. And the VFW agreed to refurbish the flagpole and underwrote the purchase of a solar powered spotlight that will shine on the flag 24 hour hours per day, allowing the cemetery to fly it "correctly," he added.
"We were very satisfied with the amount of support we received," he said. "The financial and manpower contributions cannot be overstated and are greatly appreciated."
He added the association wanted to start using the flagpole to honor the service of all of the veterans buried there, who served from the Revolutionary War to present day.
Unable to honor them all individually, Tuzinski said the association decided to reach out to the Ligouri and Lynch families to offer Saturday's tribute.
About 30 friends and family members of both fallen veterans attended along with current and past borough officials and veterans.
Prior to the flood of 1972 the West Side Memorial Day Parade finished each year at the flagpole site, where ceremonies were then conducted, he said. Consideration for reinstituting that tradition is being given by local officials, Tuzinski said.