LAKE PLACID - It may have been a small ceremony but it had big meaning. It took place on a spot along River Road in the town of North Elba with a roaring brook cascading next to two benches, a huge rock with a plaque and a flag pole on which the symbol of our country waves. It's a perfect location to honor those who serve and have served in the 10th Mountain Division located in Ft. Drum.
The ceremony Monday, June 3 recognized the 20th anniversary of the 10th Mountain Division Monument, and was planned by local U.S. Army veteran and American Legion member Joe Galone.
"I was here one day and noted the date," said Galone, who maintains the monument area. "The anniversary was coming up and I wanted to do something special."
From left, David Johnson representing the 158th Fighters Wing in South Burlington, Vt., North Elba Town Supervisor Roby Politi, former North Elba Town Supervisor Shirley Seney, National Guard Captain Jordanna Mallach and U.S. Army veteran and American Legion member Joe Galone during the anniversary ceremony for the 10th Mountain Division Monument on River Road June 3.
Richard Rosentreter/Lake Placid News
Several dignitaries along with a handful of citizens witnessed short speeches and the lowering of the old flag and the raising of a new one. Speakers included North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi, former Supervisor and Mayor Shirley Seney, National Guard Captain Jordanna Mallach, former Lake Placid resident David Johnson representing the 158th Fighters Wing in South Burlington, Vt. and Galone.
Politi praised the 10th Mountain Division "for their commitment to freedom, for the sacrifice they made, and we pledge to never forget their 'climb to glory," which is the motto of the group.
Originally activated on July 16, 1943 as the 10th Light Division (Alpine), and then renamed the 10th Mountain Division in 1944, the division fought in some of the toughest terrain in Italy during World War II.
The River Road monument as it sits today is the result of an Eagle Scout project by William Bellows, who although was not in present, was thanked for his effort to refurbish the memorial park last year.
Mallach served in Afghanistan from February to December of 2010 and said she appreciated having such a ceremony.
"Any time the community comes out to recognize the military, it means a lot," she said. The recognition is really appreciated."
"God bless all those who have served," Seney told the gathering. "We owe them so much."
In a light-hearted moment to conclude the ceremony, Seney urged the people to join in a singing of God Bless America, but everyone settled on the Pledge of Allegiance" to the flag.