By Allison Collins
SIDNEY CENTER –Sidney Center residents will mark the hamlet’s usual Memorial Day activities Monday, with one special distinction.
On Thursday, May 30, 1968, the Sidney Center community honored those sons having made the ultimate sacrifice with the dedication of its veterans’ monument.
Monday, 50 years later, the community will gather to rededicate the memorial.
Sidney Center native and Memorial Day chair Raymond Patrick said plans for the rededication ceremony got underway about two months ago. Patrick has been making the hamlet’s annual Memorial Day arrangements for more than 20 years.
“It’s been 50 years,” he said, “so we came up as a committee and decided to rededicate it.” The planning committee, Patrick noted, includes roughly seven members.
Patrick said the initial dedication of the 50-year-old stone monument was particularly poignant.
“A group got together in the ‘50s and tried to raise funds for the monument,” he explained, “but … that (effort) never got fulfilled. Then, when the Vietnam War started and we started losing local boys from Sidney Center, they started to raise funds again and got that accomplished and erected the monument in ‘68.”
It was in 1968, during a roughly 90-day period of the Vietnam War, that the hamlet lost the highest number of servicemen per capita, said Patrick.
“In such a small community,” he said, “it hits you pretty hard.”
According to an article written for the American Legion, at the time, “Sidney Center had no post office, no bus service, no school system and not even a single police officer. It also had no lack of love of country or shirking of responsibility to it, and residents believed in saying thank you to those who agreed to put their boots on the ground.”