Baxter held an extremely dangerous job during World War II. He was a fireman at plane crashes when pilots landed their P51D fighter planes. Plane fires were frequent, usually at the airport, and it was Baxter's job to rescue the pilot out and extinguish the fire.
When his health made impossible to carry on the tradition of placing the flags, Baxter passed on Charlton cemetery maps indicating the location of veterans graves in each graveyard.
"Howard would visit with us and share the meaning of Memorial Day," said Charlton historian Catherine Caine. "He would make sure we were handling the flag correctly, with dignity and respect each time we put one next to a grave, and he would show us how to salute the veterans whose graves we visited."
Baxter died in February at the age of 94, and is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery.
Charlton residents and fire departments will also participate in the town of Galway's annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade, which steps off at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day, is sponsored by the Sacandaga American Legion Post 1461 and concludes with a ceremony at the Galway Veterans Memorial at Galway High School.
Bicentennial flavor to Ballston Spa parade
The annual Memorial Day parade in the village of Ballston Spa starts at 9 a.m. and runs along Milton Avenue to Low Street. The parade begins at the northern end of the village and makes it way down Milton Avenue to Low Street and the war memorial. There will be speeches and a wreath-laying ceremony following the parade. The parade features fire trucks, vintage cars and marching members of service clubs and veterans organizations.
The village's Memorial Day celebrations take on a particular significance this year as Ballston Spa marks its 200th anniversary.
"We look to honor service men and women who fought for the country in the past, and those in the military today," said Mayor John Romano. "We have much to be proud of in the village."