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Lansingburgh grand marshal a posthumous honor
LANSINGBURGH -- Decades gone, but not forgotten. Years after a Lansingburgh soldier is killed in battle, a unique honor for him this Memorial Day weekend.
Specialist Fourth Class Peter Guenette will be the Grand Marshal of the Lansingburgh Memorial Day Parade despite the fact that he gave his life in Vietnam. A committee decided there was no one better to lead the parade, or the discussion about how much our servicemen sacrificed.
Michael Guenette thinks about his brother every day, and has for the last forty-five years. Peter left his family from the Albany County airport to serve with the army in Vietnam. May 18, 1968, his last battle, under enemy fire in a shell hole with other soldiers.
"He dove on the grenade and sacrificed his life," Michael said.
Guenette saved the lives of at least three other men.
"At that split second, to give it up at twenty years old -- he had a young wife at home -- it was about love for his fellow comrades," his brother said. "And that's it."
That is what Peter's mission always was, according to his brother, as a cub scout, altar boy, Little League ball player, "wearing uniforms his whole life, one way or another," Michael said.
The Veterans of Lansingburgh will wear their uniforms in honor of Peter on the parade route Monday. Peter is the Grand Marshal -- and while his body will not lead the march, his spirit will.
"Peter's my hero," said Bill Gordon, Vice President of the Veterans of Lansingburgh. "He's my hometown hero. I don't know how else I can say it?"
Gordon and the Veterans will offer a posthumous award to Peter's family, which in death, finds meaning.
"It's the kind of inspiration that kinda like pushes you through life," Guenette said.
The parade begins Monday at 11 am -- rain or shine. It runs roughly between 123rd and 115th Streets and Fifth and Second Avenues.