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 Veterans gather in front of the Utica Veterans Memorial to be honored for their service in front of the community on Memorial Day.

Veterans gather in front of the Utica Veterans Memorial to be honored for their service in front of the community on Memorial Day.

Photo by Kara Szymanski


On Memorial Day, Utica honors those who served and died

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 28, 2018

 Veterans salute the flag during the national anthem at the Memorial Day event in Utica May 28.

Veterans salute the flag during the national anthem at the Memorial Day event in Utica May 28.

Photo by Kara Szymanski

 Attendees look up to the flag with their hands over their hearts and the veterans salute as the national anthem is sung by Gulia Tordi (Calandrino), 17, of Utica.

Attendees look up to the flag with their hands over their hearts and the veterans salute as the national anthem is sung by Gulia Tordi (Calandrino), 17, of Utica.

Photo by Kara Szymanski

 Aaron Jahn, 14, of Shelby Township, a Boy Scout with Troop 125, plays taps during the event.

Aaron Jahn, 14, of Shelby Township, a Boy Scout with Troop 125, plays taps during the event.

Photo by Kara Szymanski

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UTICA — The city of Utica hosted a Memorial Day gathering to honor fallen American war heroes at 1 p.m. May 28 at Memorial Park, located adjacent to the Utica Public Library, 7539 Auburn Road in Utica.

The gathering took place at the Veterans Memorial that was relocated to Memorial Park last year.

Utica Mayor Thom Dionne said that, being a veteran, events like this are personal for him. He also lost friends to war. 

“Along with our friends, neighbors and fellow veterans, we will honor those who gave all so selflessly in the name of this great nation,” Dionne said prior to the event.

The mayor led the ceremony.

Dozens of veterans attended the event and were honored by the community for their dedication and service. Many members of the city attended the event to show their support.

The national anthem was performed by Utica’s own Giulia Tordi (Calandrino), 17, a student at Utica High School.

“I thought it was a respectful way to honor them, and it was fun and a nice way to honor those who are serving. I hope they continue to have the event, and if they have one next year, I would definitely come. I sang and I was nervous, but all the vets came up and thanked me,” said Tordi.

The event was similar to the memorial that takes place each year in Shelby Township and had taken place the day before Utica’s.

Aaron Jahn, 14, of Shelby Township, and a Boy Scout of Troop 125, played the trumpet during the event. Jahn played taps and “God Bless America” at the Shelby Township memorial.

“It was an honor to get to play during the event. (Shelby Township Veteran Events Coordinator) Phil Randazzo asked me to play for the event. I was a little nervous, but I was glad I did it. I got to represent every vet here and everyone who attended. I played during the Shelby Township event and now the Utica event,” said Jahn.

“Thom reached out to me and asked to be part of this great event, and I agreed. It’s a great way to honor those who were killed in action and those who served our country. It’s also a good way to bring back veterans events in Utica,” Randazzo said in a previous interview. Randazzo received two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars in Vietnam.

“I am a graduate of Utica High School and a strong supporter of veterans events,” Randazzo said.

Randazzo was one of the speakers at the event. 

“It was a beautiful event to honor the veterans and to remember those who have sacrificed for freedom. I went to the Sterling Heights memorial, and if Utica had another one next year, I would go to the memorial next year too. It was amazing and I really enjoyed it,” said Emily Moore, 17, of Shelby Township.

The city hopes to be able to hold this event every year. The city provided chips, water, hot dogs and cookies to all who attended the gathering.

For more information about city events, visit www.cityofutica.org.

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