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, 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.
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 ’24will be lit at dusk, with over 5,000 American flags expected to be appropriately retired in a spectacular and dignified fashion.