Organizers Outline Events For Upcoming Battle Of Plattsburgh Commemoration
Next month brings the 23rd annual Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration. A number of events over an extended weekend celebrate a pivotal battle on Lake Champlain in 1814 that prevented British forces from a successful invasion of the fledgling U.S. colonies.
The organizers of this year’s Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration outlined events that are planned from Thursday, September 9th through Sunday September 12th.
Some new events are planned and others are scaled back due to the pandemic and the continued closure of the U.S.-Canada border.
1814 Commemoration Inc. President Tom Donahue outlined some of the fundraising efforts and updated the commemoration schedule.
“The theme of this year’s event has kind of morphed into recognizing our veterans, Honor Flight people and our front line workers that got us through the year that we just came through. We have the local police departments and the New York state Police, emergency control, the fire department. They’re all setting up informational booths to get to know the community. We’re also recognizing our nurses and our EMS people." Donahue continues, "They’ve gone through things worse than being in battle and we want all them to be recognized and realize how much they really mean to us and how important their jobs are.”
The four-day schedule includes an encampment but there are no reenactments scheduled this year.
Reenactment Chair Paul Miller explains that many who participate in the battle reenactments come from Canada and the U.S. has continued its border closure until September 21st.
“We’ll have representatives from around Plattsburgh, from around New York state and even in Vermont. Unfortunately we won’t have our Canadian friends this year. They are actually the majority of our British reenactors. So even though we won’t have an opposing forces battle we’ll have a military style bateau in the yard of the Kent DeLord House, " Miller said. "And I personally am actually doing a display all about military discipline and justice. So instead of having a opposing forces battle we’re going to try to do something more face-to-face, more one-on-one.”
While the large scale reenactment is scaled back Donahue says the traditional fireworks display and military themed parade will occur along with some new events.
“We’re bringing back the 5K run on Saturday morning. And another new thing we’re adding is on Sunday afternoon is a firetruck pull. So we’re trying to add new things. The Crab Island ceremony will still take place on Saturday. The big event of every year is the parade. And unfortunately many of the bands that used to be in the parade came from Canada and with the border being closed they’re not allowed to come across. We have worked out that the band from Norwich University is coming over. It is the oldest marching band in the United States," Donahue explains. "And then this is an event that people seem to forget about because it’s at the end but maybe it’s one of the most important events. It’s the Old Post Cemetery ceremony and the dedication for the Tomb of the Unmarked Soldier.”
Annual ceremonies are also planned at Riverside Cemetery, where soldiers of the opposing British and American forces are buried together.