"It should be a really great day," Baker said.
While the Memorial Day event concludes with the Riverview Cemetery commemoration, festivities will continue at Paper Mill Island featuring a Guns N' Roses tribute band. Baker said event promoter Mike Chemotti has been very cooperative every year, silencing the island during the cemetery services.
B'ville's Grand Marshall
Chet Bauman of Baldwinsville, who served in the Vietnam War, was chosen as this year's Grand Marshall.
"Here we have this very humble, quiet man," Baker said. "Sadly, [Vietnam veterans] weren't received as other vets had been received. It was very different for those of us now in our 60s. We have very strong recollections of that time. The Vietnam War was a defining period for us in our relationship with the US Government."
As a Sargeant in the US Army (1966 to 1968), Bauman served in the third Battalion 47th Infantry as part of the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta during the war (1967 and 1968). While there, he was captured and escaped on the same day, Feb. 14, 1968. During his service he was awarded two Purple Heart medals, three Army Commendation medals (one for Meritorious service and two for Valor). Other awards were the Combat Infantryman Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Unit Citation Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
He and his wife, Jean, of 45 years have two grown children and three grandchildren. Their grandson, Will, is currently serving with the US Army in Iraq. In addition to his service, Bauman has been involved with the Celebrate Baldwinsville committee and the Baldwinsville Christmas Bureau for the past several years.
"Our Vietnam veterans were called to service and they served. We need to remember that, no matter what feelings there are about that war," Baker said.