Veterans Day events include graffiti exhibition, ceremonies

Ceremonies and the opening of a new Vietnam exhibit in Albany will mark the commemoration of this ye

Ceremonies and the opening of a new Vietnam exhibit in Albany will mark the commemoration of this year’s Veterans Day on Friday.

An exhibit comprised of graffiti written by young soldiers on a troop ship heading to Vietnam will open at the New York State Museum in Albany, and an annual ceremony will take place at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, where about 12,000 veterans or immediate family members have been placed.

The travelling graffiti exhibit, “Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam” will open on Friday in the museum’s Crossroads Gallery, and will be in place through Feb. 25.

The exhibit features a complete eight-man berth unit recovered from the troop ship General Nelson A. Walker, which transported soldiers to Vietnam in 1966-1967,

According to exhibit organizers, young soldiers and Marines making the long journey across the Pacific would use marking pens to write on the canvas of the bunks above them, leaving behind messages about loved ones, hometowns, personal aspirations, homesickness, humor, their anxieties, and political opinions.

“This exhibit is relevant now because we’re in the middle of two unpopular wars, and it’s important for people to look back and learn from history,” said Museum Director Clifford A. Siegfried.

The graffiti was discovered while the ship was moored in the James River of Virginia in 1997, and the berths recovered before the ship was scrapped in Texas in 2005.

The travelling exhibit is organized by the Vietnam Graffiti Project of Keswick, Va. While it is in Albany, the exhibit will highlight graffiti believed to have been left by New York soldiers.

Also on Friday, the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery will take place at 10:30 a.m. Lt. Col. Janice M. Gravely, of the Army’s Albany Recruiting Battalion, will be the keynote speaker. The ceremony takes place outdoors, in the flagpole/cemetery area, so people are advised to dress for the weather.

Back in Albany, the USS Slater will hold a Veterans Day Memorial ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

The ship will then be open for guided tours until 4 p.m. The USS Slater, located in the Hudson River waterfront near downtown Albany, is a World War II destroyer-escort — believed to be the last one floating in the United States. The ship will remain open for tours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Nov. 27, except for Thanksgiving Day, but will then close until next April.

This Tuesday there will be a veterans’ recognition ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany. The event will be co-hosted by the Albany Recruiting Battalion.

In Saratoga Springs on Saturday three World War II veterans will be honored as “veterans of the year” at the New York State Military Museum and Research Center. The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m.

The three being honored include Dante James Orsini of South Glens Falls, a Marine veteran of the Pacific Theater; Floyd J. Dumas of Queensbury, who served in the Army during the invasion of Italy and was a German prisoner of war; and David W. Sexton of South Glens Falls, a staff sergeant in the Army who was severely wounded at Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion. All the men are 91 years old, according to organizers.

In Queensbury, the SUNY Adirondack Military Club and the SUNY Adirondack Student Senate will co-sponsor a commemoration ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Friday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial outside the humanities building.

Categories: Schenectady County

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