Whiteface Mountain was initially dedicated in 1958 to the WWII veterans of the 10th Light Div., later re-designated as the 10th Mtn. Div. in 1944, to honor those who fought in the Mount Belvedere, Riva Ridge and Po Valley battles in the North Apennine Mountains of Italy during the wintry months of 1945.
The ceremony itself celebrated the heritage of the Mountain division and its war fighters past and present.
Symbolic of the past and representative of our military future, color guards from across division marched rhythmically into place, outlining the parade field and setting the tone for the day's event.
"We gather here at the foot of Whiteface Mountain to look back on our lineage and reflect on the sacrifices and accomplishments of 10th Mtn. Div. Soldiers who faithfully served this nation," stated Col. Dave Doyle, commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. "Today we remember a specific portion of our lineage and legacy and honor those mountain warriors who served in WWII."
Doyle continued by recalling the unit's robust history as the most deployed division in the U.S. Army, globally deploying in support of historic campaigns, combat missions, humanitarian and peace keeping efforts.
Also speaking was Mr. William Morrison, president of the Northern N.Y. Chapter of the 10th Mountain Association and WWII veteran. Morrison reflected upon the bonds formed between commissioned and enlisted personnel and the high price paid per mile gained in combat.
He continued quietly, with hushed words, stating this emotion was best captured by Ernie Pyle, a correspondent during WWII, in an article entitled "The Death of Capt. Henry T. Waskow".
Morrison began to recite lines from the article.
"Captain Waskow's body had been brought down the mountain on the back of a mule, when some of his company men stopped by," somberly stated Morrison.
"Very few words were spoken. One Soldier stopped, knelt and held the captain's hand for a long five minutes and silently walked away. It was of this that captain and Soldier had equally joined and enjoyed and worked together in the worst of war and weather."
Morrison spoke of less somber times during a veterans visit to Italy nearly 50 years after the war's end and formally recognized the Soldiers who stood before him.
"But as always is the future, even if the army is elsewhere it belongs to the upcoming generation here represented by the Soldiers standing before us in their very sharp uniforms. We greatly value them carrying on our name and traditions. It is with great honor and respect we salute you now and say thank you."