WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) —It’s no question that Fort drum has a strong impact on the North Country community, but on Saturday residents and soldiers were able to recognize the influence of military members both locally and across the nation in honor of Armed Forces Day.

Soldiers and residents were able to run side-by-side in the Monument to Monument 5K Run to Glory which began at 8:30 a.m. on May 21 at the Honor the Mountain monument in Thompson Park. North Country residents, soldiers, and veterans participated in the event which was hosted by the Watertown Family YMCA.

Shawna Cutuli is the Managing Director at the YMCA. She explained the purpose behind the run at the event.

“We support our military families, so we’re trying to bring that community and Fort drum community together, in one here at the beautiful Thompson Park,” Cutuli said.

Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith not only attended the event but also ran the route himself. He highlighted how the run was an opportunity for the community to connect with each other regardless of which kind of uniform they put on in the morning.

“The City and Fort drum are one community,” Mayor Smith said. “This is one small piece symbolizing our community, the city of Watertown, connecting with Fort drum, which we do all the time. We hold events like this, which is great and that’s why the 10th Mountain Division is the best division in the United States Army.”

The day also featured an Armed Forces Day parade which started at Watertown High School and ended in front of the Dulles State Office Building on Washington Street. Each group paused in front of the State Office Building to be judged for Best School Band, Best Float, and Best Marching Community group.

The winners of each category are listed in the table below.

Category1st Place2nd Place3rd Place
Watertown Family YMCA SACCWatertown Elks #496Tae Kwon Do Training Center
FloatsOperation Yellow RibbonFort Drum Mountain Community HomesAmeriCu Credit Union
School BandsPulaski Central SchoolLowville Academy SchoolBelleville-Henderson Central School

One of those groups was members of the local American Legion which included American Legion Auxiliary President of Jefferson County Judy Wallace. She said it was amazing to see the community come out and support the armed forces after a two-year hiatus.

“This is great because we have not had a parade in a couple of years,” Wallace said. “It’s great to have all the families and just getting together and very responsive. We’re hoping that this is a continuation of what’s yet to come.”

More information about the local armed forces and other events to get involved in can be found on the Fort Drum website