SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake is planning an April 25 tribute to Capt. Paul McKay for ANZAC Day.
The remembrance holiday, referencing the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), is meant to honor war heroes who died serving those countries, much like Memorial Day does in the United States.
But the tribute in Saranac Lake will celebrate a soldier born thousands of miles away who ended his life here near the summit of Scarface Mountain.
LEAVING A POPPY
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said the idea came of a simple request.
“One of Paul McKay’s friends asked if I would lay a single poppy in a place of honor for Capt. McKay on ANZAC Day. I decided I would do that on Scarface. So, about six or seven of us are ascending Scarface on April 25 in a private tribute.
“I thought that it would be appropriate to have our village also acknowledge ANZAC Day and post-traumatic stress. We don’t call it a disorder,” the mayor said.
Via email from Australia, McKay’s mother, Angela McKay, said they will not be able to attend the ANZAC Day event.
But they do plan a visit to Saranac Lake this spring.
“We do hope other Australians in the area will join you,” Mrs. McKay told the Press-Republican.
“We are also thrilled that the mayor will be climbing Scarface Mountain to place a poppy in memory of Paul.”
Rabideau said they also wanted to include Homeward Bound Adirondacks, “our local organization that helps with reintegration for veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress,” in the events.
At 11 a.m. April 25, a service will be held at the World War I memorial at the corner of River and Church streets in Saranac Lake.
“Rev. Col. Eric Olsen (ret.) from Homeward Bound will address the group. One Australian veteran has told us he will be present and bringing some of his ‘mates.’ The service is open to the public; the hike is not,” Rabideau said.