Fort Ontario Post Cemetery is an official location for National Wreaths Across America Day 2020

Fort Ontario volunteers and staff in the Post Cemetery dressed in several different eras of Fort Ontario’s history. Provided photo

OSWEGO — National nonprofit Wreaths Across America announced that Fort Ontario has once again joined the effort to support the mission to “Remember, Honor, Teach” as an official location for Wreaths Across America Day Saturday, Dec. 19. This is the third year that Fort Ontario will participate in the national event.

Due to COVID-19, the formal ceremony for Wreaths Across America Day at Fort Ontario is cancelled for this year. However, the wreaths will still be brought to Fort Ontario and placed in the Post Cemetery Dec. 19.

“Wreaths Across America started as a simple gesture of thanks that has grown into a national movement of dedicated volunteers and communities coming together to not only remember the nation’s fallen and honor their service, but to teach the next generation about the sacrifices made for us to live freely,” said Corey King, assistant curator at Fort Ontario State Historic Site.

He added, “Our goals at Fort Ontario are to raise enough funds to place 77 veterans’ wreaths on the headstones of all the local heroes laid to rest there, to ensure that the individuals who served at Fort Ontario to protect the freedoms of our country will never be forgotten, and to bring the community together in patriotic commemoration during this troubling time.”

Those interested in volunteering to place wreaths this year are asked to contact Fort Ontario at 315-343-4711 or email corey.king@parks.ny.gov.

Those interested sponsoring a wreath for the Fort Ontario Post Cemetery are invited to visit https://wreathsacrossamerica.org/pages/155232/Overview/?relatedId=0. The last day to sponsor wreaths is Nov. 30.

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at more than 2,100 veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

“We are forever grateful for the thousands of supporters who dedicate their time and effort to fulfilling our mission on a local level,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “These individuals and their communities know the value of remembering the fallen, honoring those who currently serve and teaching the next generation about the sacrifices made for our freedom every day, and without their continued support, Wreaths Across America would not exist.”

Located on a picturesque bluff overlooking Lake Ontario and the Oswego River at 1 E. Fourth St., Oswego, Fort Ontario State Historic Site has a long and colorful history. The first fortification to be located on the site was built by the British in 1755. Called ‘The Fort of the Six Nations” or “Fort Ontario,” this was an eight-pointed wooden stockade, furnished with swivel cannons, effective only against small bodies of attacking troops. Built to accommodate 300 men, the first Fort Ontario was destroyed by the French under the Marquis de Montcalm in August 1756, along with all other British defenses at Oswego. Construction of a second British fort began in 1759, and the second fort was destroyed in 1778 by American troops stationed at Fort Stanwix. Between 1839 and 1844, the U.S. Fort Ontario was built. Between 1944 and 1946, the fort was used as a Holocaust refugee center, the only one of its kind in the country.

The interior of the fort is closed for the season. The grounds remain open. For more information on Fort Ontario State Historic site visit https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/fortontario/details.aspx. For more information visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.

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