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Mechanicville to honor its WWII dead

Families to be given county Service Medal at ceremony

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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— The city of Mechanicville, which had 7,500 residents in 1940, lost 53 of its native sons during World War II, more per capita than any other community in Saratoga County.

Those who died during the war — most of them privates and seamen, none with a rank higher than lieutenant — will be memorialized at a city ceremony Saturday.

The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. in the Mechanicville High School auditorium, and officials hope to track down as many family members of those who died as possible.

The names of those who died are drawn from a memorial marker at the high school, so the list includes some soldiers and sailors from Halfmoon, Stillwater and Hemstreet Park if they attended Mechanicville High School.

“They just had a lot of people who chose to serve,” said Andrew Davis, the county’s director of veterans’ services.

Speakers will include U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam; state Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga; and Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, Davis said.

Family members of the deceased who attend the ceremony will be given the Saratoga County World War II Service Medal, which the county had made to honor veterans of that war, who are now elderly.

The ceremony will also include World War II-era videos and music, Davis reported to the county Veterans Committee at a meeting Monday in Ballston Spa.

“We are working to create a fitting ceremony that will serve as a reminder that our entire community is forever indebted to these men,” Mechanicville City Historian Paul Loatman wrote in a piece for The Express, a local weekly paper.

If the ceremony goes well, Davis said, it could be a model to follow for other communities that want to honor their World War II casualties.

Also at Monday’s meeting, he reported on preparations for the first Revolutionary Run for Veterans, to take place Nov. 10 in Schuylerville.

The 3.5-mile run through Schuylerville and Victory will raise money for the Saratoga County Veterans Trust and Agency Fund, which was set up earlier this year to help veterans. Schuylerville was chosen for the race because it is the location where British forces surrendered following the Battles of Saratoga in 1777, a key event in the American Revolution.

The registration fee is $30 in advance or $40 on the day of the run, with proceeds going to the fund, and Davis said organizers hope the event can attract 1,000 runners.

“We think we can accommodate 1,000, and that could be $30,000 raised for the fund,” he said.

The goal is to make the run an annual event to benefit veterans’ causes.

“We see this becoming one of the premier fundraising events going into the future,” Davis said.

 
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