County Executive George Latimer speaks at 2023 Memorial Day Service

Watch the full ceremony here:

Westchester County marked Memorial Day with a special ceremony at Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial in Katonah on Friday, May 26.

County Executive George Latimer and Veterans Service Agency Director Ron Tocci were joined by other elected officials, including Board of Legislators Chair Vedat Gashi, who spoke, as well as Rev. William Norman, a Vietnam War veteran and Director of the Yonkers Department of Veterans Services, who delivered an invocation and benediction, and Fred Wooding, Westchester County Commander of the American Legion Department of New York.

Latimer said: “Memorial Day has its own specialty to it. Because everyone who has put on the uniform of this country has made a sacrifice. Anyone who has gone through 13 weeks of basic training -- I don't care if you were peeling potatoes in the kitchen during your time in the military, if you went through 13 weeks of basic training, you make a sacrifice for your country.... But today is that special step beyond that, where we are saying that we are recognizing those who not just made a tremendous sacrifice for the nation, but made the ultimate sacrifice.”

He added: “If we were not the land of the brave, we would not be the land of the free.... It's only the brave that give us the land of the free. Those of you who have served have shown your willingness to be brave at that moment in time, whenever you served and wherever you served. We have to hope, that through our divisions that exist, our disagreements, that we can still find unity, we can still find mutual respect in order that the brave make sure we continue to be the free.”

Tocci said: "The defining moments of our history came during periods of great conflict when American sons and daughters answered the call to fight for freedom and democracy. These individuals -- our friends, neighbors, and relatives -- actually changed the course of world history. It is imperative that we reflect on the service and the sacrifice of these people. They were ordinary men and women who did extraordinary things out of a sense of duty, honor and patriotism. Their compelling experiences ought to be an inspiration and example for all Americans."