By John B. SnyderJune 20, 2011
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- The Watervliet Arsenal capped a month-long celebration of our Nation's military Saturday by its participation in the Village of Menands’ Military Appreciation Picnic, the fifth community event for the Arsenal in the last 30 days.
Although the Capital District is not a military community, it is a community with military. During the last 30 days, the Arsenal has, with the local community, honored the Nation’s fallen servicemen and women, Veterans, and active-duty military.
Arsenal Commander Col. Mark F. Migaleddi kicked off this series of community engagements in the Village of Green Island, N.Y., on May 26, when he led the Green Island Memorial Day Parade as the senior Army leader. He also spoke at the closing ceremony.
Although Green Island has a population of about 2,500, on this day this small community seemed to magically swell in size as Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan sang a variety of Americana songs as the parade proceeded through the town.
At the conclusion of the Parade, McNulty-Ryan and Albany County Legislator Sean Ward praised the Watervliet Arsenal not only for its participation that day, but also for its impact to the community for nearly 200 years.
Memorial Day offered the Arsenal two great venues to further tell the story of selfless service and sacrifice by those who have stepped up to the challenge by serving their nation in uniform.
The Arsenal led the City of Watervliet Memorial Day parade by fielding more than 100 participants and 16 vehicles that helped generate community interest and awareness to those who had given their last full measure of devotion to our country. The Arsenal contingent not only led the parade, it was the largest presence in the parade in front of several thousand spectators.
At the closing ceremony in Watervliet, Migaleddi said “Those who serve are ordinary people who have been placed in extraordinary circumstances. They are people who know the true meaning of courage and sadly many did not return home. And for that reason we gather today to honor them.”
After a fast change of uniforms, Migaleddi moved to the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga
National Cemetery where he was the keynote speaker in front of more than 1,000 attendees, to include U.S. Representative Chris Gibson.
“According to Webster’s dictionary, a hero is defined as “a figure in mythology and legend renowned for great strength, courage, and daring,” Migaleddi said. “But, let me be clear…those who gave their lives for our country are not myths…they are not legends…they are in the truest sense of the word, heroes."
After taking a tactical pause for two weeks, on June 14 the Arsenal participated for the first time in the New York Senate’s Veterans Hall of Fame Ceremony where, once again, Migaleddi was the keynote military speaker. Immediately after the ceremony, Migaleddi was whisked away to the Senate chambers were the senators were in session. Migaleddi took this rare opportunity to address the Senate to promote and celebrate the Army’s Birthday.
Finally, on June 18, Migaleddi spoke at the Village of Menands Military Appreciation Picnic to a small, but patriotic crowd. Menand’s Mayor Meg Grenier, who invited Migaleddi to speak, is no stranger to the Watervliet Arsenal. Her husband had been employed at the Arsenal since the 1980s, thus, making her part of the Army Family. This was the final community event for the Arsenal to promote and celebrate the Army’s Birthday.
Considering that just three years ago the Arsenal did not participate in community events, but by evidence this past 30 days it appears to many that the Arsenal is back…back in the community.