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COVID numbers on decline: Memorial Day plans announced

Although four members of a Shelter Island family were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past week, Police Chief Jim Read said percentages continue to decline, fluctuating between 3.2 and 3.3% of the Island population.

Those who received a first COVID vaccination three weeks ago were scheduled for their second inoculation at Shelter Island School on April 28.

Supervisor Gerry Siller said he’s heard some people are concerned about allowing the Shelter Island 10K to be held on June 19. Organizers of the event have scaled it back from previous years, allowing 1,000 participants and eliminating all of the social events held before and after the race.

The Town Board and Chief Read have endorsed the race, which meets guidelines set by New York State. But the town is still awaiting approval from the state for this specific event.

Chief Read promised to press harder for an answer if one is not forthcoming this week.

Organizers of the traditional Memorial Day observances have made some changes, still stressing the importance of avoiding crowds, social distancing and wearing masks.

But the town is expected to arrange to tape the ceremony for showing on Channel 22.

There will be a sharply modified parade beginning at 10a.m. with no students participating, as a small contingent of American Legion Post 281 and Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary members and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution will walk from the Center Firehouse to the American Legion Post. There will be no vehicles in the parade and no guest speaker.

After brief remarks from Post Commander Dave Clark or his designee, and an invocation from Father Peter DeSanctis, the names of the 19 Islanders who have been killed in action will be read. Auxiliary members will lay a wreath and a 21 gun salute will follow before the playing of Taps.

Earlier on Memorial Day, beginning at 8 a.m. on Bridge Street, there will be a brief  “Lost at Sea” ceremony. Wreaths will be tossed into the water followed by a 21 Gun Salute followed by Taps. Legion  and Fire Department members will march to Chase Creek for dismissal with the whole ceremony taking only a few minutes.

On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Scouts will be enlisted to help place flags at graves of deceased veterans who are buried on the Island.

The Legionnaires will be honoring the 19 service members killed in action with placards on the Center Mall. In addition to those, the 31 American Legion Post commanders will also be honored with placards.

In addition, family members of others who have served in the Armed Forces and are deceased and buried on the Island are eligible to have placards placed for their loved ones. To facilitate those, family members should send a letter to American Legion Post 281, P.O. Box 2021, Shelter Island11964 The letters should indicate the name of the service member, the branch in which the person served and a check for $20 to pay for a placard. These placards will be keep by the Legion and displayed annually on the Center Mall for each Memorial Day. All the placards will be kept by the Legion and displayed on Memorial Day in future years.