Founded and nurtured each year by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)- Syracuse Chapter 103 for over 32 years,
the Central New York Watchfire event continues on. 

The Central New York Community expresses their deep appreciation to the VVA Chapter 103 for their tireless commitment and energy to make this one of the largest events of this kind in the USA!

The Syracuse Watchfire will return to the NYS Fairgrounds 

Memorial Day Weekend

Watchfire 2024 will be held Sunday, May 26 5:00 PM

Watchfires are organized in communities throughout the USA to symbolically light the way home for service members that have made the ultimate sacrifice to our country or are missing in action. They are often solemn events supporting our veterans in honor of their service.

As Watchfire planning continues, contact the following for further information, to volunteer, etc.:

Rick Keyes  (315) 254-5845

Want to volunteer to help? We would love to have you.

 Click here to request more information. Please be sure to add your phone number

Watchfire history

The origin of military “watchfires” in the United States dates back at least to the Revolutionary War. General George Washington had signal fires (Watchfires) along the Hudson River in Southeastern New York and Northern New Jersey which alerted residents to the approach of the British and helped soldiers separated in battle return safely to their units. Watchfires continued to be used within military units following battles or long marches to help service members find their way back to their units.

Today, the CNY Watchfire brings service members, veterans, their families, friends, and community members together to honor and remember those who did not return home and paid the ultimate sacrifice, making our country stronger.

In the Central New York Community, for over 35 years the Watchfire event has drawn thousands of visitors including veteran organizations, veterans, and volunteers throughout CNY’s military and veteran community. Watchfire ’ 24 will be lit at dusk, with over 5,000 American flags expected to be appropriately retired in a spectacular and dignified fashion.