Saranac Lake will add 2nd Anzac Day event

A plaque honoring Australian Army veteran Capt. Paul McKay is seen Monday at the Saranac Lake World War I Memorial. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

SARANAC LAKE — Two events will be held here Thursday to commemorate Anzac Day to honor veterans and raise money for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

First is an 11 a.m. wreath-laying ceremony by an Australian army detail at the World War I Memorial Park at the corner of River and Church streets. This event is open to the public. A delegation from the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., is expected to attend.

Following that, the Hotel Saranac will host a fundraising luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. The cost is $30 per person, or $240 for an eight-person table sponsorship. Sponsors’ names will be listed in the event program.

The event is a partnership between St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers, Homeward Bound Adirondacks — a local nonprofit that provides support services and retreats for veterans — and the village of Saranac Lake. All net proceeds will go to St. Joe’s and Homeward Bound.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Kasulke of the Army Reserve Medical Command will speak at the Hotel Saranac event. He is currently the Army Reserve ambassador for New York and a member of Homeward Bound’s Board of Directors.

Anzac Day is named for ANZAC, an acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It has been celebrated on April 25 since 1916.

On April 25, 1915, Anzac forces landed in Gallipoli, in what was then the Ottoman Empire — now Turkey. At the end of the campaign eight months later, Australian and New Zealand forces had suffered around 36,000 causalities, according to the New Zealand government.

This year marks the fifth annual Anzac Day ceremony in Saranac Lake. The first followed the death of 31-year-old Australian Army Capt. Paul McKay, who suffered from post-traumatic stress. He traveled to Saranac Lake in late December 2014 and was last seen walking the railroad tracks near the federal prison in Ray Brook. After a two-week search by police, forest rangers and volunteers, McKay’s body was found on a rocky outcrop atop Scarface Mountain on Jan. 15. Authorities ruled that he committed suicide by hypothermia.

Two benches with memorial plaques honoring McKay were built by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, one standing at the village World War I memorial and the other on Scarface Mountain trail.

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