Annual remembrance ceremony for 10th Mountain Div. canceled due to sequestration concerns
WATERTOWN, N.Y. — An annual ceremony at Whiteface Mountain honoring the service of 10th Mountain Division soldiers was canceled for this year after Fort Drum pulled its participation due to financial concerns connected to sequestration.
The event, which honors the division’s soldiers from World War II to the present day, has been held at the mountain since 1988, and this year’s ceremony would have been its 25th.
Lt. Col. David A. Konop, division spokesman, said despite interest from the post in participating this year, the finances of taking part in the ceremony meant its involvement never progressed past the initial planning stages.
In addition to civilian employee furloughs, which were recently reduced for this fiscal year, the federally approved budget cuts have forced other cost-cutting measures from the post.
“The cuts we’re looking at don’t make it fiscally sound to do such an event,” he said.
William Morrison, president of the upstate New York chapter of the 10th Mountain Division Association, said last week he received the final confirmation about the post’s participation, and he sympathized with their funding predicament.
“I certainly understand that it had to be done,” Mr. Morrison said. “It was kind of a big day for us, but the Army is much more important for us.”
Mr. Morrison said the event was a way for the division to get back to its roots, and in past years, veterans of the division have brought members of their family to observe the ceremony.
“It’s important that so many years ago, this division was created,” he said. “Some of us were there at that time, and we like to see what the division is doing. It’s kind of a personal thing.”
A memorial to the division is based at the summit of Little Whiteface Mountain, and Mr. Morrison said many veterans head to the plaque after the ceremony.
Mr. Morrison said he was hopeful that the event would return in future years.