Albany honors sacrifices made by military members, families

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Music and reflection filled the streets of Albany Monday as people marked Memorial Day.

A parade made its way down Central Avenue to Washington Avenue with local students, veterans and military families ending with a ceremony in tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

In spite of one of the first hot days of the summer season, people from around the area gathered to watch the parade and wreath laying at the Albany Vietnam War memorial.

Memorial Day is full of somber reflection for the parents of those who serve the United States.

The mothers of those serving or returning, provide one another with critical support. They send care packages to those overseas, and support what can be a difficult return home.

Donna Abare’s son served in the army. She’s the president of the Capital Region area chapter of Blue Star Mothers.

“I don’t know how we could get through it without that support. We can’t forget that we still have so many of our men and women deployed all over the world, and we certainly can’t forget our veterans when they return home,” Abare said.

Gold Star Mothers of those killed in action were recognized and honored Monday. The Blue Star Mothers feel a strong connection to their pain.

“For our fallen, our Gold Star sisters, we are in it together with them. Because it’s not just today. We are there supporting, they support us, we support them, every single day of the year,” she said.

The Blue Star Mothers also advocate for the daily struggles of their children returning.

“We have to bring the awareness that when our children come home, they don’t come home the same,” Abare explained.

They raise awareness about the suicide rate among veterans. The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control show veterans bear a disproportionate burden— around 17 veterans take their own life every day.

“All our children, no matter, if they were in the middle of combat, or not in the middle of combat, they still suffer when they come back from some form of PTSD,” Abare said.

Vietnam veteran John Wands Sacca served as grand marshal of the parade and keynote speaker at the ceremony. Sacca served from 1967 to 1969.

“It gets more thrilling as the day goes on. I was a little blasé about it to begin with but riding down here in the Jeep and seeing all the folks, very warm reception. It surprised me,” he said.

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