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Volunteers organize cards for Second Battle of Sackets Harbor bicentennial display

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SACKETS HARBOR — The village’s battlefield site will be covered with 5,000 ceremonial cards for the bicentennial of the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor, an effort supported Thursday by a group of area volunteers.

Approximately 15 volunteers from the Hounsfield Senior Citizens Club turned the village’s office building into an assembly line, putting cards into stakes made to hold up the notes in flower bouquets.

“We got the call ... show up, and bring cookies,” said volunteer Christine D. Eckhoff.

Many of the circular cards, filled out at area schools and American Legion posts, had messages thanking those who served in the military both during the War of 1812 and today. The plan is to place the cards on the battlefield the morning of the battle’s bicentennial, May 29, creating what organizers call a “Field of Honor.”

Mrs. Eckhoff said several members of her family have served in the military, including her husband, son, multiple sons-in-law and a grandson.

“We’re very proud of all the service they’ve given,” she said.

MaryAnn Oliver, who organized Thursday’s work session and much of the card distribution, expressed excitement with presenting the finished product next month, and hoped there would be a large turnout at the battlefield.

“I think they’ll love it,” said Mrs. Oliver, club vice president. “I think they’ll be pretty impressed.”

Mrs. Oliver, who is active at multiple levels of the American Legion, distributed several cards through her normal volunteer work.

Constance B. Barone, Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site manager, said the idea came to her in 2009, when she learned of “Field of Honor” displays in England and Belgium to honor World War I soldiers.

“It’s exciting to see that we’re going to be able to do this in Sackets Harbor,” Mrs. Barone said. She said the cards are a way to connect people to commemorative events.

The 5,000 cards cost a few hundred dollars, Mrs. Barone said, and the stakes were donated by Gray’s Flower Shop, Watertown.

The placement of the cards is the first of several events scheduled for the War of 1812 battle’s bicentennial. Mrs. Barone said volunteers interested in helping with the cards’ placement that day can call the battlefield site at 646-3634.

Other events taking place to mark the date are the issuing of a commemorative stamp, a war centennial monument rededication and a lecture and exhibit about war archaeology.

A full schedule of events can be found at www.sacketsharborbattlefield.org/schedule.htm.

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