Remembrance Day observance on Dec. 15
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. >> For more than sixty years, the members of the Ballston Spa House & Garden Club have kept alive several traditions that exemplify their expressed mission to serve to ‘promote civic beautification of the Village of Ballston Spa.’
The month of December is an active one, as public buildings in the Village of Ballston Spa undergo a holiday transformation at the hands of the members of the Ballston Spa House & Garden Club. The group creates and installs seasonal decorations and participates in the annual Ballston Spa Village Holiday Parade.
It has also organized the village’s annual observance of National Remembrance Day, which in past years was known as Armistice Day.
Every year the club invites the public to gather at the Ballston Spa Veterans Park located between Low Street and Route 50 to participate in an observance honoring the memory of all veterans lost during wartime. In past years, the day was always observed in November to commemorate the day and time World War One ended — at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918.
This became known as Armistice Day - the day Germany signed an armistice that caused the fighting to stop. People in Britain, France and the nations that supported them celebrated the day to honor the memories of loved ones who perished in this conflict.
This year, on Dec. 15, the Ballston Spa House & Garden Club keeps that day alive with a few variations planned. Because this year marks the 100th anniversary of WWI, also referred to as “The Great War,” club CoPresident Lorraine McPherson says members have planned a display of memorabilia from that war and encourage the public to bring picture, artifacts and stories to share.
“It’s something we’ve always done ourselves,” said McPherson. We’ve laid wreaths at the soldier’s monuments in Veteran’s Park and did our own local version of what Wreaths Across America does. Their goal is to say to the families of veterans from every war ‘we will never forget.’”
The Ballston Spa Library in their Community Room will host this year’s event. Special focus is on a display of WWI items that include a plaque from Christ Episcopal Church with the names of local men who served in that war. McPherson also serves as Church Historian there.
“We’ll have the display at the library and visitors can share their stories and memories as they enjoy refreshments. Once they’ve warmed up, we’ll gather at 11 a.m. when a wreath will be laid at the Soldier’s Monument adjacent to the library” McPherson said .
“I’ve been trying to research the boys that went to war from Christ Episcopal Church. They were 17 or 18. In 1917 when they went, people weren’t that worldly. They usually didn’t travel far from home. It makes it more real.”
While planning for the event with club Co-President Barbara Millington, McPherson clearly became immersed in the topic.
“We’ve honored veterans from other wars, but I though back about the Vietnam era and realized it was still almost too close to me. Men were still being drafted but because my husband is a teacher, he was exempt from going in those days. We were newly married. I don’t know what I would have done.”
She adds “It reminded me of what it takes to be an American and the sacrifice made for those of us at home. For many, there is still an empty chair at the dinner table. We need to understand this more, and to honor those who went.”
The public is invited to the event that will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ballston Spa Public Library.