PLATTSBURGH Ten years ago a group of local people came together to discuss its shared belief that the Battle of Plattsburgh had not received its proper recognition in the annals of United States history. The Sept. 11, 1814, battle marked the first and final invasion of American soil by a foreign power and culminated in victory and the maintenance of our nations sovereignty. Thinking ahead to the 200th celebration of the War of 1812, the group believed that the next several years would be a good time to bring this historic event back into the public eye. Its response was an annual commemoration of the battle, and now, ten years later, the event continues to grow and is receiving wider and wider community support.
The 2007 Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration begins on Saturday, Sept. 1, and gradually builds to full day and evening activities the following weekend. The commemoration will include historical speakers and discussions, one of regions best parades, fireworks, wreath-laying ceremonies, a history walk, an operational colonial tavern, battle and encampment reenactments, a bateau race, fun run, English country dancing, and wonderful patriotic music and dance programs that include a wealth of international talent.
This is a family-oriented event. Children 18 and under are admitted to all events free of charge. Admission buttons featuring the prize-winning poster design of Beekmantown Elementary School 4th grader Ben Brown will sell for $8 through Aug. 31 and for $10 throughout the event. The commemoration has an $80,000 budget; organizers hope button sales will bring in a total of $10,000.
Over the years more and more local organizations and businesses have made financial commitments to the event. This year the commemoration organizers announced that Key Bank is donating $6,000 to fund the entire cost of the encampment and reenactments. TD Banknorth provides savings bonds for the poster contest winners. Citizens Bank supports the Plattsburgh Challenge Bateau Race. The Plattsburgh Noon Rotary Club has contributed $4,000 annually for several years in support of the parade. The Northern Insuring Agency is sponsoring a the very well-known Celtic music group Enter the Haggis, while Eagles Nest Veterinary Hospital is underwriting the cost of Friday nights fireworks.