Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 103 Memorial Day Watchfire  

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The next Watchfire has been scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 24th, 2015 in the Veterans Memorial Watchfire Park, New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY. (See annotated aerial photograph at page end).

The Watchfire ceremony and lighting of the pyre commence at dusk, but do go earlier to get a good spot! Food and drink vendors will be on-site.

The Watchfire stems from the military tradition that following a battle or long march, a large fire would be started so those missing or lost could locate and rejoin their comrades. Using that time honored model symbolically, we use the warmth and light of our Watchfire to guide everyone to join us in reflection of those comrades who have gone before us and made our nation strong through their service and sacrifice.

VVA Chapter 103 uses the Watchfire and accompanying ceremony to make Memorial Day more meaningful for everyone in the community. We invite Veterans and Non-Veterans to gather at the Watchfire to honor those who have so faithfully served the nation.

The 1995 Watchfire honored the American Veterans of World Wars I, II and Korea. In 1996 we dedicated the event to the Gold Star Mothers. The 1997 event was dedicated to honor Women in Service. Please help us to ensure that Memorial Day does not pass without a suitable remembrance of the women who have served and are serving the nation. The years following 1997 have been dedicated to all United States of America Veterans.

Come join us at the Watchfire to make Memorial Day an event that honors all those who have served and given their all for our way of life.

The Watchfire also allows VVA Chapter 103 to provide the community with an opportunity to respectfully retire unserviceable American Flags. You are encouraged to bring tattered, worn or faded American Flags for respectful burning on the pyre.

The Watchfire 2014 Thank-You List

The efforts and generosity of many individuals, businesses and organizations are required to stage the Watchfire. VVA Chapter 103, and Chapter President, Gordy Lane, would like to publicly thank the following for their untiring support and effort:

The CNY Vietnam Veterans Foundation for funding the event.

The event Chairman, Bill Martin, and the Watchfire Committee without whom this event would not take place.

The many volunteers who built the fire. The Carpenters Union and other trade members who volunteered their time and expertise. Also, our brother and sister vets who came from "Clear Path for Veterans" and other organizations.

The members of Chapter 103 who volunteered and worked extremely hard to make this Watchfire available cost-free to the community.

The volunteers in the tent selling our products: Kae Young and Holly Moore.

Our grateful thanks go out to The Great New York State Fair and especially to Mr. Gary Kerr who every year allows us to use the Watchfire Park. Show our gratitude by attending the other great events the Fair puts on year-round.

Thanks to the Solvay Fire Department for standing by for the event. We cannot have a Watchfire without a fire service in attendance.

Syracuse Mayor, Stephanie Miner, and the Parks and Recreation Staff under the direction of Baye Mohammad in making the mobile stage available and providing a bucket-lift truck.

Manny Falcone and a large group of motorcycle riders for their generous donation to VVA Chapter 103.

Thanks for the sound system from "National Audio" staffed by Mark Hummer and Jeff so that we can adequately hear the event.

The "No Xcuse" a cappella vocal group who sang so well this evening.

Dale Bloss along with the other pipers who played the bag pipes and drums so beautifully.

The members of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office for being with us and the Sheriff's Air One helicopter fly over always an important aspect in the Veterans Salute.

Dan Boscoe and his staff for making the food and providing beverages for this event.

Our ice cream vendor, Cruisin Cones, for his time and cooling treats.

We thank our newest supporter Dinosaur Radio 95.3 and 103.9 FM on the dial, and Nick Caplan who lent us free air time to promote this event,

Twin Trees Pizza of Baldwinsville for giving us the best pizza ever.

The Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Vet Center for sponsoring a tent and along with an opportunity to help and counsel vets everyday not just today but what they do best in helping the Veteran Community.

We thank everyone for coming out and making this the premier Memorial Day Weekend event and showing the community that there are still people who can respectfully remember those who gave their all so that we can be free.

Watchfire 2014 Photographs
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Photos © 2014, F.L. Brough, Sr.

Watchfire 2014 Panoramic Photos

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Photos © 2014, F.L. Brough, Sr.

Vietnam Veterans of America
Central New York Chapter 103
P.O. Box 675
Liverpool, NY 13088


Watchfires 2009 through 2011

Watchfire 2009Watchfire 2010
Watchfire 2011Flags of Watchfires

The Veterans Memorial Watchfire Park

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