Niskayuna High School grads honored during Memorial Day ceremony

NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Generations were brought together Friday at Niskayuna High School during an annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Students and several local veterans gathered to remember three Niskayuna graduates that were killed in action in Vietnam. Three flags were placed in their honor.

Among those placing a flag for the fallen was current Niskayuna senior Muhammad Jones.

“Just remember the people that we’ve lost,” he said. “A lot have put their lives down. A lot of us make sacrifices just joining the service, but a lot made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Jones is currently in the U.S. Army National Guard as an E1 Private. He did an internship with the Niskayuna Police Department his sophomore year, and he knew he wanted to get into law enforcement.

“A great way to set yourself up for that is going into the military,” he said. “And I figured why not join the world’s best military.”

As Jones prepares for his military career, local veterans are thinking back on their service.

In attendance was 97-year-old WWII veteran Ralph Boyd. He served in Africa and Europe.

“I always think about it,” he said. “Because I love the military, and I think we have a great country, and I’m just one of the contributors.”

Boyd said he thinks about life on Memorial Day.

“97 years and I’ve been happy. I enjoyed life,” he said. “I came to the conclusion life is what you give, not what you grab. What you give.”

Originally from Baltimore, Boyd has lived in Schenectady for more than 60 years.

“I said, ‘I’ll never let them draft me,’ cause I was in the reserves,” he said.

He became a sergeant and moved up ranks.

“I was in an all-Black outfit; all Black officers,” he said. “366 Infantry. We were front line troops.”

As Boyd looks back, Jones looks forward to the unknown.

“I don’t know,” he said. ‘Possible deployment. Who knows? Who knows what’s coming. We don’t know the situations abroad; how the world is going to turn out.”

This is the 23rd year Niskayuna High School and the VFW post has held the Memorial Day ceremony.

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