Re­mem­brance Day ob­ser­vance on Dec. 15

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Francine Grin­nell fgrin­[email protected]­i­tal­first­ @d_­grin­nell On Twit­ter

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.

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