Watchfire preparations underway

News

New York State is sending hundreds of worn and unserviceable flags to be retired at this year’s Watchfire at the New York State Fairgrounds.

It’s the latest recognition of the effort by Vietnam veterans to remember lost comrades on Memorial Day weekend.

On Friday, volunteers were at the Fairgrounds preparing to renew a tradition that goes back at least to ancient Rome – a Watchfire that lights up the sky, to show the way home for those lost after battle.

The State Fair gathering is expected to draw as many as 20,000 people, rain or shine.

Organizers call it the largest Memorial Day gathering of veterans in Upstate New York.

“When we started this, we could barely get anyone to even come out and take a look at it, but then it started catching on and pretty soon, the crowds got immense.  You know, we’ve added a lot of stuff to this program just to keep people interested in coming,” said Watchfire co-chair Pete Bronstad.

Dozens of volunteers spent the day building the structure for Sunday’s fire – including professionals from the Carpenters Union – to assure safety. 

For more information on the ceremony, click here.

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