NYers Mark Memorial Day With Parades, Events

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (AP) -
A flotilla of U.S. Navy ships, back-dropped by the Statue of Liberty, are welcomed to New York for Fleet Week with a ceremonial spray. (Office of Mayor de Blasio)
A flotilla of U.S. Navy ships, back-dropped by the Statue of Liberty, are welcomed to New York for Fleet Week with a ceremonial spray. (Office of Mayor de Blasio)

A historic preservation group held its annual Memorial Day ceremony Monday honoring four unknown American soldiers who died in the Colonial era.

A monument at Lake George Battlefield Park marks the place where the unknown soldiers were reburied after their remains were unearthed in 1931 by a road crew that was working south of the village of Lake George. It’s believed the soldiers served in a Massachusetts regiment that was ambushed in a ravine by the French and Indians in September 1755.

Monday’s event included an honor guard and a musket salute by French and Indian War re-enactors. A tour of the park by members of the Lake George Battlefield Park Alliance was offered.

Thousands of people also attended the annual “watchfire” event Sunday evening held every Memorial Day weekend at the New York State Fair.

Watchfires were used starting in ancient times to help soldiers find their way back home from battlefields. Organizers say the modern-day version honors fallen American soldiers and symbolizes the effort to bring home all those listed as missing in action.

The watchfire at the state fairgrounds in Geddes, outside Syracuse, involves the burning of a huge pile of pallets and other wood. Retired and tattered U.S. flags collected by veterans’ groups are placed on the pile so they can be disposed of in an honorable manner.

At the Saratoga National Historical Park, a program honored the nearly 500 New Hampshire Continental Army soldiers who died fighting the British in September and October 1777. British forces surrendered in what many consider the turning point of the Revolutionary War.

Activities will include musket firing demonstrations and the reading of the names of New Hampshire men killed in the battles.

In her hometown of Chappaqua, N.Y., Democratic presidential front-runner Hilary Clinton marched at a Memorial Day parade accompanied by former President Bill Clinton and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. She didn’t speak to reporters at the parade, where a friendly crowd cheered and many waved Clinton campaign signs. Resident Kelly Aidekman said she views the Clintons “as if they were any other neighbors.”

Still, the Clinton signs weren’t the only signs of the presidential contest. Resident John Nadler was in the crowd with a sign supporting presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Nadler said he wants “to let people know that there’s more than once choice.”