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City to rededicate Civil War vets' park

Friday, August 15, 2014 - Updated: 10:25 AM

By CASEY CROUCHER

casey.croucher@recordernews.com

Amsterdam will host a ceremony Saturday for the unveiling of a plaque at Grand Army of the Republic Park on the south lawn at 61 Church St.

City historian Robert von Hasseln will unveil a bronze plaque at 11 a.m. for the park's rededication.

The park, which was established by the Common Council in the early 1950s, was in response to local veterans' associations which asked that the council honor the Grand Army of the Republic.

The GAR was composed of Union Army veterans of the Civil War and it was the first modern veterans society to oppose any form of segregation.

In 1953, the council nailed a bronze dedication marker to a brick wall in the GAR park, but because of its bad position, the marker eventually fell off.

Von Hasseln said Anthony Leggiero, a Department of Public Works employee, found the marker and cleaned it up, but it was lost again.

Finally, non Hasseln found it a few years later and decided it needed to be put back in the park, but with a similar ceremony to the 1953 dedication.

On Saturday, the American Legion and Polish American Veterans will have a ceremonial rifle firing and play "Taps" in honor of the Civil War veterans.

State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, and Mayor Ann Thane are currently scheduled to speak during the ceremony.

"I'm going to try to make it as close as possible to the original 1953 dedication ceremony," von Hasseln said. "But hopefully it doesn't rain like it did then, because that day they all had to meet in city hall. If that's the case here, we won't have the ceremonial firing."

     

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