Watervliet Arsenal Continues to Build on Memorial DayWednesday, June 2, 2010
(United States Army)
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- For nearly 200 years, the Watervliet Arsenal has been well known for its ability to create, build, and manufacturer military hardware. This past Memorial Day, the Arsenal workforce applied those skills to a larger purpose by helping to build a foundation of 'values' within the local community, a foundation that may last generations.
As many in the local community clogged the roads this past weekend en route to resort areas, beaches, and to campgrounds, a cohort of about 100 Arsenal workers stayed home to participate in the City of Watervliet's Memorial Day Parade.
After an absence of more than 20 years from the local parade scene until 2009, this was the second year the Arsenal had participated in the Watervliet parade.
Although such participation brings the Arsenal great, positive visibility within the New York Capital District, Arsenal recognition was not why people volunteered their time off this holiday to march in a parade.
For those who participated the 'why' was simple ...
"We have a duty and a responsibility, as Americans, to honor and remember those who have died in service," said Howard Kindell, Arsenal Equal Employment Opportunity Manager.
"As powerful a responsibility that may be, however, not everyone shares in that sense of duty to publicly honor our fallen servicemen and women," Kindell said. "That is why it is important to use the excitement of parades to help foster the spirit of commemoration."
Arsenal Commander Col. Scott N. Fletcher echoed this sentiment during his keynote remarks at Veterans' Park to about 300 who attended.
"Although we may have waivered through the years in our ability to create and instill a high sense of patriotism in our families and in our neighborhoods, I don't believe all is lost," Fletcher said.
"So, let it start today in Watervliet," Fletcher added. "Let's take today's spirit, today's meaning, and today's essence of message and tell your neighbors, friends, and families about the value of service and more importantly, about the value of sacrifice."
"Challenge your community, our community to join in the American tradition of rendering proper respect to those select few who have stepped up to the challenge and gave their full measure of devotion to duty and to our country," Fletcher said.
Joining with the Arsenal contingent of marchers, were two Arsenal floats, Arsenal fire truck, two armored Humvees from the U.S. Army Reserves, one armored Humvee from the New York State National Guard, and 10 vintage-era military vehicles from the Hudson-Mohawk Military Vehicle Collectors Club.
Because the Watervliet Arsenal contingent had the largest number of participants and vehicles, it was given the honor of leading the parade in the first division.
So, while the production bay machines were quiet this Memorial Day, the Arsenal continued to build.
The employees of the Watervliet Arsenal are represented by NFFE Local 2109.