Hundreds of people lined the streets of Plattsburgh on Saturday for the annual parade to mark the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh.
“This is one of the pivotal battles in [the war of 1812], and it really defined us as a nation,” said Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest.
“The British had more than 10,000 troops coming down form Canada marching towards Plattsburgh. Plattsburgh had maybe 1500 regular militia,” says Tom Donahue, President of 1914 Commemoration Inc.
“I think a lot of the time, Plattsburgh’s history gets overlooked even locally so it was really important that our children know the local history as well,” said resident Ruth Baker.
Despite the disparity, Commodore Thomas Macdonough defeated British troops on Lake Champlain.
“If that hadn’t happened, we might not be speaking English here, we might have a little British accent today,” Donahue says.
Parade goers came dressed for the occasion. “It’s the battle of Plattsburgh, [so] you’re going to have to come dressed a little bit period,” Rosenquest says.
Peru resident Norm Lavigne said he found his attire on the internet. “I think I’m a George Washington knockoff, he said. “And he’s a colonial general.”
Plattsburgh resident Agin Mark said he enjoyed this year’s parade.
“From bag pipes, to quills the basketball team — it’s awesome,” he said. “I almost wish I went to college in Plattsburgh.”
SUNY Plattsburgh students were in attendance as well.
“This is a great way for the college to build up that good relationship between the town and the gown,” says Plattsburgh student Michael Casey.
Bagpipe players were happy to see large crowds.
“Even as a little kid, when I heard bagpipes, it elicited emotions from people,” says Plattsburgh Police Pipes and Drums player Chris Ford. “It’s great with any musical when you have people around. [When] people are excited, it adds to the whole thing and makes us feel more important.”