The Battle of Plattsburgh is arguably the greatest historical event that ever took place in our region, and we rightfully continue to celebrate that victorious day more than 200 years ago.
The battle was fought in Cumberland Bay on Lake Champlain and in the streets of Plattsburgh and surrounding areas on Sept. 11, 1814.
Although not recognized in our nation's history annals as big of an event as battles in Baltimore and New Orleans were during the War of 1812, stewards of the Battle of Plattsburgh have proved beyond a doubt over the years that the American victory over the British on land and on sea proved to be a decisive event in the war, which would end not long after.
The American force was made up of people who were probably pretty scared at the thought of staring down the then-mighty British navy and army, but they were determined to protect their homes, their city, their country.
Many of those desperately fighting here two centuries ago were volunteers no doubt.
They put themselves on the line, risking their lives and possibly their family's lives by standing up to the invading British.
Fortunately for us, many survived and succeeded.
Volunteering for such a task is certainly heroic and takes an unprecedented amount of fortitude.
Thankfully, the days of war on our home Champlain Valley shores are long gone, and that kind of spirited and brave volunteerism is not necessary.
But we still do need volunteers of a different sort.
The organizing committee of the Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration celebration has been around for about two decades, planning and organizing the wonderful events the region enjoys in the first two weeks of September each year.
The committee ramped up their efforts each year from the mid-2000s to the culmination of the bicentennial celebration of the event in 2014.
And what a grand event it was.
Several days of re-enactments, encampments, music, art, history lessons, storytelling and overall celebration and commemoration.
It has been five years since that wonderful commemoration, and unfortunately, the size of the pack of volunteers helping out has been shrinking all too rapidly since then.
The members of the committee that remain are growing older and ready to pass on the duties of keeping the magical commemoration alive and striving.
Christopher "Kit" Booth, Gary VanCour, Stanley Ransom and several others are still around helping organize and plan and prepare for this year's celebration scheduled for Sept. 11 to 15.
But they need help. And they will need help well into the future.
"It's time for new people to take over and do the job," Booth said at the recent news conference unveiling this year's program.
The City of Plattsburgh and North Country region has a long history of people volunteering for big events.
Aside from the Battle of Plattsburgh, people have stepped up to volunteer to help out for the annual Mayor's Cup, the Ironman Triathlon in Lake Placid and annual holiday events to name just a few.
In addition to helping out at fun events, North Country residents have a huge heart when it comes to aiding neighbors in times of crisis and tragedy.
Who could forget the Ice Storm of January of 1998 when neighbor helped neighbor for weeks on end when thick ice knocked out power throughout the region.
And during the famous escape of two murderers from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in 2015, law enforcement was supplied daily with water and food and any kind of assistance necessary by good, giving, caring people.
We hope there are not too many more events like the Ice Storm and escape where volunteers are paramount.
But we also hope that fun events like the Battle of Plattsburgh and Mayor's Cup can continue and be strengthened by volunteers.
Many volunteers have more to offer than just some muscle for menial labor tasks. The region is filled with a whole generation of millennials who are smart, talented, responsible and hard-working.
Getting involved in events like the Battle of Plattsburgh can offer opportunities to utilize and develop planning, organizing and creative skills.
Such efforts not only help the events be successful, they make for great entries on resumes.
We strongly encourage the young, and even middle-aged and older North Country residents to consider helping out with the Battle of Plattsburgh celebration and all events this year and in the future.