This Friday, in Conjunction with Australia’s Veteran’s Day called ANZAC Day, The Village of Saranac Lake is honoring the day with a resolution naming the 25th.. “Anzac Day for PTS Awareness” Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau says “Americans and Australians will gather in remembrance and to talk about Post Traumatic Stress (PTS,) an affliction plaguing innumerable combat veterans.” In an email to WNBZ, Mayor Rabideau says “No one foresaw the January death of an Australian military officer atop nearby Scarface Mountain spawning an international military remembrance day in this Adirondack village—but that is what will happen he says on April 25th..
31 Year-old Captain Paul McKay, diagnosed with PTS, traveled from his home in Adelaide, Australia, to Saranac Lake and, just before New Year’s, e-mailed his dad from a local hotel room with a message giving away all his possessions and then climbed Scarface Mountain in temperatures reaching 20 degrees below zero with very little gear. 15 days later, his body was found upon a rocky outcrop near the mountain’s peak by conservation officers who were part of a massive search and rescue effort. The captain’s death was later ruled a suicide and there is no known reason why Captain McKay came to Saranac Lake.
A friend of the captain soon thereafter contacted the mayor and asked that “a single poppy be laid atop Scarface Mountain on Anzac Day,” to honor McKay; a poppy being a symbol of remembrance in British Commonwealth countries. This request was agreed to by Rabideau.
Anzac Day, celebrated on April 25th of each year, is a day of remembrance for soldiers and veterans in Australia and New Zealand, as on this date in 2014—100 years ago—thousands of soldiers in the “Australian New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC)” suffered tremendous casualties in a large military operation in what is now Turkey.
On Friday morning, a small “detail” of people will privately ascend Scarface Mountain and lay the promised poppy. At 11am, Congressman Bill Owens will speak at the War Memorial in Riverside Park.. That ceremony is open to the public. Retired US Army Brigadier General Loree Sutton, the former director of the military’s top center for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries will also speak at the service.
Major Cameron Satrap, the Executive Officer from the Australian Embassy Military Attaché in Washington, will also be on hand to recite the “Ode of Remembrance,” an Anzac tradition in Australia to which the audience responds, “We will remember” and “Lest we forget.” Other Australian veterans will also be attending. Later in the day, a fundraising dinner for Homeward Bound Adirondacks, a local group which helps returning veterans and their families reintegrate into the community, will be held at the Saranac Lake Fish and Fame Club from 5-7 PM. In nearby Tupper Lake, the State Theater on Park Street will show two films about PTS. The first is a drama entitled “Happy New Year,” and will be shown at 7:00 PM on the 25th and the other, “High Ground,” a documentary, will be shown the next day at 4:30 PM. Mayor Rabideau commented, “Though we will probably never know why Captain McKay came to Saranac Lake to spend his final days, it is our hope that his memory will raise awareness of PTS and spur us to better recognize it so we can help our returning combat veterans.”
The Tentative Anzac Day Itinerary Follows:
ANZAC Day for PTS Awareness – April 25, 2014 – Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Early Morning: McKay Remembrance Detail assembles at the Scarface Mountain Trailhead. Please note that this is a private ascent.
10:00 AM: News Briefing at Trailhead
11:00 AM: Memorial Service, World War I Memorial – Cor.River and Church Sts.
Welcome: Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Rabideau
Posting of the colors by Honor Guard
Pledge of Allegiance
Australian National Anthem: Jeanine Swinyer
Remarks by Congressman William Owens
Governor’s Message/ Proclamation
Local Veterans Group Address
Homeward Bound Adirondacks Address: Col. Olsen
Remarks by General (Ret) Loree Sutton, re: Post Traumatic Stress
Remarks and “Ode of Remembrance” by Major Cameron Satrap,
Ex. Officer, Military Attaché, Australian Embassy, Washington, DC
Note: The Ode of Remembrance requires responses from those present: “We will remember.” And “Lest we forget”
Music: Cameron Anderson, bagpiper, “Amazing Grace”
Retirement of the Colors
5:00 – 7:00 PM: Homeward Bound Adirondacks Dinner Fundraiser
Saranac lake Fish and Game Club, Route 3, Saranac Lake
7:00 PM: PTS Awareness Film: Presented at the Adirondack State Theater, 100
Park Street, TupperLake. Film: “Happy New Year.”
Saturday, April 26, 4:30 PM: PTS Awareness Film: Presented at the Adirondack State Theater, 100 Park Street, TupperLake. Film: “High Ground.”