Whiteface Mountain ceremony honors fallen division Soldiers

By Sgt. Steven Peterson, 10th Mountain Division JournalistAugust 23, 2012

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Veterans and Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division, including their Family Members and friends, gathered last week at the base of Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid to honor Soldiers of the division's past and present who gave their lives for freedom.

The annual Whiteface Mountain rededication ceremony began Aug. 15 with the 10th Mountain Division Band and Soldiers from Fort Drum brigades and battalions bearing their unit's colors marching to a crowd gathered under a canopy of open tents.

William Morrison, a division veteran of World War II and president of the Upstate Chapter of the 10th Mountain Division Association, walked to the podium and welcomed guests.

He said in addition to commemorating the formation of the division in 1943, the Whiteface Moun- tain ceremony honors the modern-day 10th Mountain Division, from its reactivation Feb. 13, 1985, through current operations in Afghanistan.

Morrison then read a newspaper clipping from March 16, 1945, that mentioned division Soldiers who stormed Mount Belvedere, Italy. He compared that war so many decades ago and the wars fought by the division today.

Once he finished his remarks, Morrison welcomed Brig. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, deputy commanding general - operations for 10th Mountain Division (LI) and guest speaker for the ceremony.

With backdrops of the Whiteface Mountain Lodge, a giant ski lift and water rushing in a nearby mountain stream, Clarke commented on the accomplishments and sacrifices of veterans who belonged to the original 10th Mountain Division.

He took time to thank those same veterans for the pride and concern they show today's 10th Mountain Division Soldiers and Family Members.

"The Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division look back on their heritage and lineage and remember the sacrifices that they gave during their time," Clarke said.

"As Mr. Morrison read the passage from the Yank newspaper, it really helps all of us understand our lineage, and I wish all of our 20,000 members of the 10th Mountain Division today could be here.

"The Soldiers who serve our country today are rather selective portions of our society," he added. "All are volunteers. The Soldiers are vanguards of our freedom, and (they are) beloved by our nation that they protect."

After Clarke completed his speech, division Soldiers honored past and present fallen warriors with a 21-gun salute, the playing of taps and a moment of silence.

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for his friends," Chaplain (Lt. Col.) John Kallerson, 10th Mountain Division (LI) chaplain, said during the benediction. "Which calls us to remember, when our nation raises the call to arms, there are those who answer the call to service and sacrifice."