FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 18, 2018) -- Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) were guests of honor May 15 at the annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon in Watertown, near Fort Drum, New York.

The event is presented each year by the Greater Watertown - North Country Chamber of Commerce to celebrate and thank service members for their commitment in defending the nation's freedoms.

"This event is really about the Soldiers and inviting them to communicate and intertwine with the business community that we're so proud to serve," said Kylie Peck, GWNC Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive office.

Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum deputy commanding general, spoke about the origin of Armed Forces Day and noted how all of May is Military Appreciation Month and concludes with the observance of Memorial Day. He said that many event throughout the North Country honor service members past and present.

"But we also open the gates at Fort Drum for people to visit the cemeteries in our training areas," Donahoe said. "As a matter of fact, on May 24, Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division will go out and mark the graves of veterans in the cemeteries of the 'Lost Villages' to honor those who served."

Donahoe said that every day seems like Armed Forces Day in the North Country, which is a testament to the support and welcoming nature of the surrounding communities.

"We truly feel that way, and thanks for making every day Armed Forces Day here in the North Country," he said. "It is always our honor and privilege to speak with the people of the United States and the people of the North Country, in whose name the 10th Mountain Division fights."