The Golden’s Bridge Fire Department was planning to host a grand Memorial Day Parade along Route 138, but not just any parade. It would have culminated at the Golden’s Bridge Firehouse with a dramatic wreath-laying ceremony at the American Legion Monument – the first such observance since the 4-ton granite stone returned “home” to the firehouse last October. There was also a big community barbecue planned after the ceremony. Then came the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic has forced the GBFD to postpone the event to a later date, tentatively around the July 4 Independence Day Weekend, depending on state laws involving gatherings and distancing. For now, a small group of Golden’s Bridge firefighters – the caretakers of the American Legion Monument since it was moved from the Community House in Old Golden’s Bridge back to its original home of the GBFD – will hold a private ceremony over the Memorial Day Weekend to honor all those who died in military service.
“This will be a low-key, but dignified and respectful ceremony that provides the proper acknowledgement and reverence to memorialize the members of Golden’s Bridge families who served in the World Wars, as well as all those who sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. military,” said Fire Commissioner Joe Simoncini, a longtime GBFD member and chairman of the Memorial Day Parade and events.
“The ceremony will be limited to a few members of the department. It will be closed to public participants for the health, safety and well-being of our firefighters – who we must protect in order to keep them on the front lines and available to respond to all 9-1-1 emergencies,” Simoncini said. “There will be a time in the future when we can safely gather and acknowledge as a community those who have served our country, including the descendants of Golden’s Bridge families.”
Simoncini also said that local residents could make drive-by or quick drop-in visits to the American Legion Monument, as long as firefighters are not on the firehouse grounds and no emergency-related activity is in progress. Visits to the monument should be short, and visitors should not park in front of the firehouse doors or block the driveway entry/exit. All visitors must follow current state laws involving social distancing, wearing masks and other coronavirus-related regulations.
The American Legion Monument, which is located to the left of the firehouse’s front doors across from the fire bell, is affixed with a pair of bronze plaques emblazoned with the names of the 76 Golden’s Bridge residents who served in both World Wars. It had been displayed outside the front entrance of the Community House on Old Bedford Road. When the Town of Lewisboro sold the building to a private owner, the GBFD petitioned the Town Board for permission to relocate the granite memorial to the grounds of the firehouse – which was a reunion of sorts between the GBFD and the monument. The long history dates back to the 1960s when the GBFD was the original location and caretaker of the American Legion Monument.
The GBFD recently lost longtime member Jack Alonzo, 95, who served the department in the Fire Police Unit, and who proudly served his country as a member of the U.S. Navy during WWII.