Veterans Day in Wayland

By Jasmine Willis
The Express
The Wayland Honor Guard stands holding flags to honor the nation's veterans.

WAYLAND  — Veterans Day held true across the nation as a day to honor all of those who have served to keep us free and secure. 

Wayland American Legion held its Veterans Day Parade with both sides of the street filled with eager patriots. Post Commander Kevin Mark said it was the best turnout they had in many years. 

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread and take away lives and traditions. However, some things remain a time-honored tradition despite the chaos in the country. Veterans Day is one of them. 

“We are Wayland, and we don’t stop doing stuff for a pandemic,” Mark said. “The veterans didn’t stop doing what they did for us. So why should we stop honoring them? If they stopped protecting us, we would be in big trouble.”

Korean War veteran Norbert Lang said he was proud the Legion did the parade this year. He was glad to be there for Veterans Day and celebrate it. 

“I am glad they still did the parade this year. I believe in Veterans Day. I think they should celebrate it. We military are the silent majority,” he said. 

Lang said the Korean War was the forgotten war. 

“They still try to call it a conflict. It was a war. When you have the enemy shooting at you it’s a war. We had to wait to be recognized. I am getting the honor to be a veteran. People thank me for my service. I tell them it was my honor to serve,” he said. 

Vietnam War veteran John Schuyler said Veterans Day means a lot to him and he enjoys being part of the parade every year. 

The men and women march proudly down the streets of Wayland for Veteran's Day.

“So many good men and women lost their lives so we could have the United States of America and honor the flag. I will always be here to take part in this day. We are all US Navy Men. My two sons Andy and Ryan went into service as well. Andy became an X-Ray Technician and served three years. Ryan was a career military man and did 20 years. I enjoyed seeing Ryan in all the places he went when he was in the Navy. We had the best job,” he said. “Andy went in a day after his graduation party. Ryan went in the same week he graduated. Ryan helped me a lot at the family business. We had Schuyler Auto Shop from 1973 to 2011. He helped me his sophomore, junior and senior years in high school.” 

Schuyler was in service in 1966 to 1968 on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. About six months into his service, he experienced something horrific that has stayed with him. 

“It only took 17 seconds to kill six of my men. We had to put Co2 down the hole to seal it or it would’ve taken out the ship. The bleach hit the lead paint and caused a chemical reaction. The fire burst right through. I was watchmen on the deck and saw the whole thing. It is by God’s grace I am still standing here today,” he said. “If the fire would’ve spread to the tanks right next to me, I would’ve died, and the ship would be gone. It still haunts me, what happened to those six men.  No one wanted to talk about the bleach being a fire hazard a year before. In 1965 a buddy of mine had this happen to him. No one did anything about it or trained the men how to use the bleach or store it.”

Schuyler had a rough time of it at first, but a commander would be a father figure to him to help him through the rest of his service. 

“Dad and I started working together when I came home. We worked together for nine years doing mechanics and painting. That was the time I really got to know my dad,” he said. “I enjoyed every moment of it. Dad taught me a lot about responsibility. We got along good and worked hard.” 

Schuyler worked at Expressway Auto Auction in 1991. Schuyler started out part of the Dansville American Legion and later joined the Wayland American Legion. He is now captain of the Wayland Honor Guard. He takes care of membership. He has loved being part of the Wayland Honor Guard since the late 1990s. 

“You can cry when you hear that alarm go off. It takes me back to the guys who fought and died on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. It always makes me think about that when I hear the alarm,” he said. 

Mark thanked the Wayland Village Police Department and Wayland Fire Department for their help in the parade every year. Mark and Nancy Nice gave the ceremony this year in honor of all veterans.