Veterans Day events include honors, parades, race
CAPITAL REGION Capital Region residents have many options this weekend to honor those who have served in the Armed Forces.
Veterans Day, which falls on Sunday but is observed Monday as a federal holiday, brings ceremonies, parades and even a foot race.
The New York State Military Museum will honor its 2012 Veteran of the Year, Charles P. Evans of Wilton, a former captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps who served in the European Theater during World War II.
The ceremony takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the museum, 61 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs.
Evans, 94, exemplifies the many veterans of the Greatest Generation who worked hard and served their country but didn’t get many medals or honors, said Lance Ingmire, president of the Friends of the New York State Military Museum.
Ingmire and other members of the Friends met Evans last year.
“The Friends Selection Committee was deeply moved by this man’s service,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, will present the honor to Evans, who enlisted in the Corps just before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Evans trained in California as an Air Corps Cadet in AT-6s and then moved on to B-24 Liberators, according to the Friends. He was assigned to the 409th Squadron, 93rd Bomb Group, 20th Combat Wing, 8th Air Force in 1944.
After the war, Evans was a pilot for American Airlines.
In Clifton Park, the town will dedicate a World War II monument that was recently relocated from a remote spot off Route 146 on the back side of the Edison Club to Garnsey Park. Its Veterans Day ceremony takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the park on Route 146 between Waite and Wing roads in western Clifton Park.
The 7-foot stone monument was erected soon after World War II and includes the names of 12 town residents who died in the war. Most were from Rexford. The town has invited some descendants of those veterans.
The ceremony will include a bagpiper, Boy Scouts, color guard and remarks by World War II veteran Allan Atwell, who coordinated the efforts to move the monument, said town Supervisor Phil Barrett.
The monument used to be on a small piece of land donated to the town by General Electric when it owned the Edison Club. It was about 15 feet from the road.
“A car hit it many years ago; it still has a scar from that,” Barrett said.
Most people probably didn’t even know it was there, he said. There wasn’t a safe place to pull off and look at the monument. In the new location it will be more visible but still be in Rexford.
At least two parades will take place in the region.
Amsterdam’s parade starts at 10 a.m. Sunday on Guy Park Avenue and ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. at West End Park after the parade.
Albany’s Veterans Day parade starts at 11 a.m. Monday, proceeding down Central Avenue to Washington Avenue and to the reviewing stand in front of the New York state Education Building.
Other events around the Capital Region include:
• The Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery will hold a ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Maj. Gen. Verle J. Johnston Jr., commander of the New York Air National Guard, will be this year’s featured speaker.
The ceremony recognizes former prisoners of war who attend, as well as Gold Star parents who lost a son or daughter in war. John McKenna III and his wife Karen usually attend. Their son, Marine Capt. John McKenna IV of Clifton Park, was killed in August 2006 in Fallujah, Iraq, while trying to save a comrade.
• A photo gallery of veterans, living and deceased, will be unveiled Sunday at the Gurtler Brothers VFW Post 420 on Excelsior Avenue in Saratoga Springs. “The Gallery of Valor” will debut at 2 p.m., after a free luncheon at noon.
• An observance held aboard the USS Slater in Albany takes place at 8:30 a.m. Sunday with state Sen. Neil Breslin and Assemblyman Bob Reilly. The ship will be open for guided tours from the end of the ceremony until 4 p.m. It also will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
The USS Slater is a World War II destroyer escort, the only such ship afloat in America. It is located on the Hudson River in downtown Albany just south of the Dunn Memorial Bridge. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children.
• The Schenectady County Council of Veterans Organizations will hold services at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Veterans Park.
• For a slightly unorthodox Veterans Day celebration, runners can flex their muscles Saturday in Schuylerville as they retrace the steps of some of the country’s first veterans.
The Revolutionary Run for Veterans 5K connects several landmarks from the American Revolution. It starts at 9 a.m. at Fort Hardy Park. Registration ends today at www.active.com, and the fee is $30.
• Some private businesses may offer discounts or promotions for veterans, such as the Coffee Beanery at Colonie Center, which will give a free tall coffee to veterans and active-duty military members Sunday if they show military ID.
Although Veterans Day falls on Sunday, government offices and area schools observe the holiday Monday and are closed for the occasion.
There’s no mail delivery and banks also are closed.
The area’s public libraries have a hodge-podge of hours Sunday and Monday. For example, Saratoga Springs Public Library is closed Sunday and open Monday. Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library is closed both Sunday and Monday. Schenectady County Public Libraries are closed Monday, but the Central Branch, which normally has Sunday hours, will be open Sunday.