Annual Christmas Eve March Celebrates Deployed Service Members by Spc. Andrew Valenza

Christmas Eve service for veterans from the Vietnam War. Don’t look for any celebrities from Hollywood such as Jane Fonda, Scarlet Johansson or Alec Baldwin.
New York National Guard soldiers, airmen, families and community supporters made up more than 1,200 marchers in Glen Falls, New York, as part of a Christmas Eve road march to celebrate the service of overseas-deployed U.S. troops of the past and today.

This was the 14th time that people turned out for what’s become an annual event, organized by retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Arthur Coon, formerly with the New York Army National Guard.

“We began this event in 2004 with just ten people starting at the Glens Falls Armory,” Coon told the crowd before the march began from downtown. “I would never have thought it would grow to the size we have today.”

The road march was first held for the New York Army National Guard’s Company C, 2nd Battalion, and 108th Infantry when the unit was deployed to Iraq during Christmas of 2004.

Coon got together with some local soldiers to conduct a 4-mile road march in their honor starting and finishing at the Glens Falls armory.

The event has grown every year since, and now includes local veteran organizations, the Association of the U.S. Army, Gold Star families and community supporters.

“We wanted to make sure they knew we hadn’t forgotten them at this time when we could be sitting at home in our pajamas,” Coon said. “To me, [the best part] is the core of the event, sending a message to those deployed, or someone currently serving. It’s good for them to know that we remember them.”

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