Fort Drum, surrounding community celebrates Armed Forces Day
May 24, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce and Noon Rotary Club sponsored the annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon to honor service members of Fort Drum on May 16 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Watertown just days before Watertown's annual Armed Forces Day Parade.
More than 300 members of the local civilian and military communities attended the first event.
The hostess for the lunch was Lynn Pietroski, president of the Greater Watertown North Country Chamber of Commerce. Guest speaker was Col. Richard Clarke, 10th Mountain Division (LI) deputy commanding general of operations.
"The interaction between this community and Fort Drum is paramount to the success we have had," Clarke said. "These types of events, when the community sponsors the Soldiers, are absolutely important to us."
The lunch began with a Fort Drum color guard posting the colors and the singing of the national anthem. Pietroski then took charge of the event and introduced all of the sponsors who made the event possible.
"I was extremely (surprised) that so many members of the community purchased tickets for the event here for the Soldiers," Pietroski added. "One hundred and seventy-five tickets were donated so that Soldiers and their dependents could come here to be recognized."
During the event, Clarke asked for all of the current and past veterans to stand and be honored by the participants of the lunch. He then asked for all of the spouses to stand, and he thanked them for the long hours they put in during deployments while their significant other was away.
Spc. Mitchell Means, a Soldier from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, commented that events like the luncheon help the civilian community understand what Soldiers do.
Once the event came to a close, many of the community members as well as service members from surrounding areas talked about different things to do in the region during the spring and summer.
"I am looking forward to events like this in the future; anywhere and anytime we can help strengthen this bond we are willing to help," Pietroski said.