TUPPER LAKE - Adirondack residents are natural for military service since they live rugged lifestyles and spend their lives building up their defenses, according to the speaker at Tupper Lake's Veterans Day ceremony Monday.
"Resilience is achieved by raising one's tolerance, both physical and mental, through a state of conditions not otherwise experienced and out of the norm," retired Army Lt. Col. Mike Salamy said at the ceremony, held at Tupper Lake's Veterans Memorial Park. "Adirondackers are resilient people."
Salamy said people here grow up chopping firewood, hiking amid droves of bloodthirsty insects, hunting for food rather than sport, skiing in freezing temperatures, paddling miles and miles, and doing other things to build up their resilience.
Mitch Harriman of Tupper Lake plays “Taps” during Tupper Lake’s Veterans Day ceremony.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
He compared that to young service members who work in rugged, harsh terrain overseas with few comforts.
"Resiliency, I believe, is a necessary quality for service," Salamy said.
When preparing to give the speech in his hometown, Salamy said he looked up New York's participation in military service and found that the state ranked 51st in terms of levels of participation.
"The numbers didn't seem right," Salamy said, thinking about the number of people from the area he knows who have served.
So he started going through county by county, and he found that the ones in the Adirondacks stood out as having participation numbers much higher than the state average, at times exceeding the national average and reaching 13.4 percent.
He pointed out that small towns like Tupper Lake play a big role in national defense.
Salamy had people in the crowd shake hands with service members and their families, noting that families help keep those serving in the military strong.
Besides Salamy's speech, the ceremony also included prayers from Baptist minister the Rev. Rick Wilburn and Catholic Deacon Jim Ellis, music from the Tupper Lake Middle/High School band and laying of memorial wreaths by various local civic and government groups. Local American Legion Commander Mark Moeller was master of ceremonies.
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