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Johnsburg salutes its veterans

NORTH CREEK The town of Johnsburg celebrated Veterans Day this year with a three-part program coined Salute to our Veterans on Nov. 8 at Johnsburg Central School. The event included numerous displays and memorabilia dedicated to our countrys service members, a spaghetti dinner and a concert featuring patriotic. The chorus and band from Johnsburg Central School played tunes such as Song for the Unsung Hero and Stars and Stripes Forever. The idea for the celebration started with the Johnsburg Central School music department, coming first from JCS choral director Mary Leach, who was inspired after reading about another community holding a similar event. A year ago I was reading an Old Forge newspaper and I saw that Utica had a community chorus that had done a Veterans Day concert, and I said to Tom (JCS band director), we should do that. It just kind of grew from there. Leach said. Leach turned to Debbie Bedard to help expand the program, an army mom and teacher at JCS whose son is a second lieutenant (soon to be first) in the First Airborne Division of the Army. Tons of people have contributed, too many to name them all.Bedard said. Its incredible to me, just the magnitude of the people who have served from the town of Johnsburg. As a country we need to know who our soldiers are. We depend on their service for our freedoms. She pointed out the lists of Johnsburg veterans from the revolutionary war to the war in Iraq that lined the school hallway. The kids this morning came to school and were looking at all the names and had no idea that parts of their families were in the civil war and things like that. She said, I think that the kids really need to be aware of this because our future is in their hands. Johnsburg residents Sally Heidrich and Terri Waterston also joined the efforts and worked hard to help put together a museum worthy exhibit of veteran memorabilia. The Johnsburg Historical Society, headed by Doris Patton, played a major role, contributing an ongoing database on all of the military members in town. We have hundreds of photographs and every photograph has a description behind it. said Heidrich, who encouraged people to continue to contribute their military photographs to the historical society so that the database can be updated. These wars are so horrible, and the people that have been in them and are in them now, they need recognition. Waterston, commander of the North Creek American Legion post 629, was instrumental in getting the names and pictures on display. This has been such a terrific thing to work on. We wanted all of our veterans from all wars to be recognized. Even tonight by having these displays up here, people have said thing like, oh, you dont have my uncle Jim that will help us to include everyone. said Waterston. Along with the database and numerous pictures of Johnsburg veterans, items such as newspaper clippings listing veterans, letters sent home by soldiers, various uniforms, freeze dried military meal packages and gear such as gas masks, canteens, mess kits and various others were on display. Others involved included David Braley and Rusty Lee, who took and worked with photographs, Kathleen Havens Gezzi, Patty Morehouse, Mary Cooper who made various contributions, and many Johnsburg students, including the third grade class who made patriotic drawings for cards that were placed on each chair in the gymnasium, and the students of the National Honor Society who made red, white and blue ribbon pins. The community response to the event was outstanding, and the many veterans who attended were truly touched by the celebration. Bert Miner, part-time Johnsburg resident, served twice in the Army, once from 1957-1959, and again in 1961 during the Berlin Crisis. This is important because its a part of our history and it shows the involvement of a small town like North Creek in our armed services. he said. Joseph Ben Miller who served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army, and naval veteran and current NY naval militia member Bruce Dunkley were also pleased with the event. I think its a representation of the moral fiber of our country. Weve got a strong history and a good strong base for our country. commented Dunkley. I think to see these people who really gave us their all is really very special. Its important because we need to remember what the veterans have done and to honor them. added Miller. If anyone has pictures they would like to add to the Johnsburg Historical Societys veteran database, they are encouraged to bring them to Sally Heidrich or Terri Waterston with the soldiers name, rank, branch of service, war(s) fought, and dates going in and coming out, written in pencil on the back of the photograph. Additions will help paint a more complete picture of the extraordinary level of military service shown by so many in the town of Johnsburg.

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