Vietnam Veterans have built the log and pallet pile that they'll torch Sunday night, but they're busy all day today accepting old American flags to be burned as well.
'Proper disposal of old flags,' says vet Pete Bronstad, who was with the Watchfire tradition when it started 26 years ago.The first years, it was in Madison County, but moved to the State Fairgrounds when there were land use issues there.The Upper Lot has now been declared Watchfire Park, in honor of Central New York's Memorial Day tradition.
The community service, of burning the flags, is paid for by the local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter, which is underwriting the effort by also selling a commemorative book, t shirts and wrist bands.
Even though it's an established tradition, Bronstad says it gets more expensive: this year they've added a sound system so that the thousands who come out to watch can hear better.
Besides bringing flags, hundreds come to sign the memorial boards that also go up in flames.The ceremonies, and the lighting are at 9pm, but you're advised to get there earlier--there's usually a traffic jam.