Memorial Day Weekend Watchfire Event Planned for May 28th at Lake Neatahwanta

Memorial Day Weekend Watchfire Event  Planned for May 28th at Lake Neatahwanta

Thank a Service Member, Inc. (TASM), an Oswego-based not-for-profit organization, has partnered with the City of Fulton and the Fulton Memorial Day Salute Committee to hold a Watchfire event at Lake Neatahwanta behind Denesha Field on Friday, May 28, 2021.

The watchfire will run from 7:00-10:00 pm, and the event will kick off with a short formal ceremony. As part of the event, thousands of unserviceable US Flags, which local volunteers collected throughout the year, will be burned in accordance with disposal guidance provided in the US Flag Code.

A rain date is scheduled for Sunday, May 30, 2021 from 4:00-7:00 pm.
Modern-day watchfires stem from a long military tradition where following a long battle, a fire would be started so those missing or lost could locate and rejoin their comrades. Today these watchfires are held annually to commemorate service members who never returned from battle.

Last year, Thank a Service Member partnered with local businesses and organizations to place flag collection boxes throughout the community. According to Thank a Service Member Founder and Board President Peter Allen, these boxes provide a convenient way for the community to retire unserviceable flags.
The boxes are available at the American Legion Post 587 at 873 Oneida Street in Fulton; in the main lobby of City Hall in Oswego, VFW Post 569 in Fulton, Oswego County Federal Credit Union branch offices at the Oswego East Side, Fulton, and Mexico locations, and the American Legion Post 486 in Minetto.       
"The City of Fulton is proud to partner with Thank a Service Member to bring this first annual event to our community,” said Fulton Mayor Deana M. Michaels. “TASM is a strong local charity organization. Their work on behalf of service men and woman is top notch and we look forward to building our relationship and expanding our events in the years to come.”
“Because of Covid related restrictions, we had to pare back some of this year’s functions. With all we’ve had to forego due to COVID there’s still opportunity to introduce new ideas. The addition of this Watchfire event will enhance our annual tribute activities and provide a safe venue this Memorial Day for residents to honor those who served.”

American Legion Post 587 Representative Donna Kestner added, "we are thrilled to see this event happening in the City of Fulton. We are a long-time partner of Thank a Service Member, and our legion members have helped gather the many thousands of flags for this event."

“This event is a wonderful addition to our annual Memorial Day weekend activities,” said Doug Stevens, Chair of the Memorial Day Salute Committee. “We are excited to be partnering with TASM and are looking forward to integrating this watchfire event into our annual Memorial Day weekend agenda every year.”
To learn more about the watchfire event, the flag retirement project, or Thank a Service Member, Inc., please call (315) 402-5915 or visit their website at