22 November 2008

Sackets Harbor Heroes Comittee

Before I departed for Iraq, I was invited (but unable to attend) a farewell dinner hosted by the Sackets Harbor Heroes Comittee, a local group dedicated to supporting the military community of the village of Sackets Harbor, New York.  

The town of Sackets Harbor was an important base for the United States during the War of 1812, and two battles were fought around this port on Lake Ontario.  The US maintained the base up through World War Two, and it has been the home of General Ulysses S. Grant, and the birthplace of General Mark Clark.  It served as the jumping point for establishing Camp Pine in Upstate New York, which later evolved into the current-day Fort Drum, New York in the 1980s when the 10th Mountain Division was re-activated.

Fort Drum had little on-post housing when it opened, and many junior officers settled in this tiny community, some 40 minutes away from Fort Drum.  In the summertime, that is.  The annual snowfall of approximately 10-12 feet makes the morning commute just a tad longer.   It has been a gracious host to the local military community, and the local landlords (who rent out rooms in the 150-year old Madison Barracks compound) have been more than understanding of the various challenges that face the local military community.

I just sent them an invitation to subscribe to this blog.  I feel sorry for the small village during this deployment.  Sackets Harbor maintains the small-town atmosphere reminiscent of 1812, and doesn't let in big businesses or chain stores.  Instead of Starbucks and McDonalds, there are small locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants.  I've spent a lot of time (and money) at all of the local eateries, but there's one in particular that I've spent more than my fair share at.

Before I left for Kuwait, I made sure to stop by the Sackets Harbor Brewing Company, and told Lindsey, the local bartender, that was about to depart.

"Who's going to drink all of my Amber", she exclaimed, referring to the particularly good ale that is Sackets Harbor 1812 Amber.

 Yes, indeed, the economic woes that plague the rest of America will be felt even morefold in Sackets Harbor without me to purchase glass after glass of Sackets Harbor 1812 Amber for the majority of 2009.  

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