A Low-Key Memorial Day Planned For Sag Harbor

Memorial Day in Sag Harbor last year. PRESS FILE

Sag Harbor Village will have a Memorial Day observance after all, but officials say it can’t be like the well-attended parades and ceremonies of past years.

David Pharaoh, the commander of the Chelberg & Battle Post 388 of the American Legion, said last week that village officials had agreed to allow representatives of the Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars to hold scaled back observances without public participation.

On Monday, Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy said it was a difficult predicament. She said that while the village wants to honor the nation’s war dead, “we can’t do it in public this year” because it is highly unlikely the state’s guidelines for social distancing will have been relaxed in time.

“This is not a public event,” she stressed. “It will be private and small.”

Mr. Pharaoh said an honor guard and rifle squad, accompanied by post chaplains, would march from Otter Pond to the Legion post on Bay Street, stopping to lay wreaths and fire salutes at monuments along the route.

He said that participants would maintain social distancing and no other organizations would take part in the event. In addition, he said the public would be asked to stay away to avoid the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.

“We have to honor them,” Mr. Pharaoh said of the village’s — and the nation’s — war dead.
Earlier this week, Harry “Hap” Wils, the commander of the village’s VFW post, promised, “There will be flags on veterans’ graves, there will be flags in the village, and there will be wreaths laid at each monument.”

Elsewhere across the South Fork, decisions about whether to hold scaled back ceremonies or cancel them altogether remained up in the air this week, pending guidance from the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo. East Hampton Village announced two weeks ago that it would cancel Memorial Day observances.