TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Big changes are happening for this year’s Memorial Day plans in the Town of Tonawanda. The ceremony held for fallen firefighters will no longer be held on that day, this year.

The ceremony has been held for decades and is a long-standing tradition.

During the pandemic, the fire companies that participate every year were asked to move their remembrance ceremony to October.

Town Supervisor Joe Emminger says they asked for that move to be permanent, while the firefighters say they never agreed to that.

The town says Memorial Day should be set aside for military men and women who paid the ultimate price. The President of the Town of Tonawanda’s Firefighter Association says this ceremony is on Memorial Day for good reason.

“In the 1950s, a lot of firefighters were coming back from service to find out that their friends and brothers and sisters had been killed in action. They wanted a way to honor them as well as other firefighters,” said David Nedell.

Emminger responded to News 4 with this statement.

“We love our firefighters and have always supported them and always will support them. We are and have been open to talking to them about resolving this issue, but frankly, we think they caused their own problem by agreeing to move it last year, when we asked them and then never saying they changed their minds.”

Joe Emminger, Town of Tonawanda Supervisor

Emminger added that this is likely just a misunderstanding. A meeting is scheduled for next week to finalize the details and possibly smooth things out.

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Abby Fridmann is an anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work here.