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Ossining to Honor Civil War Veterans Saturday

OSSINING, N.Y. – Before Ossining became a village or a town, 100 men in Sing Sing gave their lives during the Civil War.

This Saturday, Ossining and Briarcliff Manor residents and historians are joining together for a ceremony honoring those men who died 150 years ago. The Ossining Historical Society and the Ossining Camp Meeting Association are set to present “A Remembrance of the Village of Sing Sing During the Civil War,” a ceremony honoring the time of the Civil War with reenactments of battles and period dances and customs. The event is set to kick-off at 2 p.m. at Historic CampWoods Grounds in Ossining.

Rather than a “glorification of war,” the event promises to be a reflection of the men and women who were affected by the war in all aspects of their lives, said Miguel Hernandez, executive director of the Ossining Historical Society.

“There were no battles here but about 1,000 men from Sing Sing participated in the war and marched south with the Sing Sing Tigers,” Hernandez said. “But 100 of those men never returned home. We lost probably two generations of men in the war and it impacted very heavily on the people here in Ossining and affected their lives in very deep ways.”

Hernandez, who also served as a former mayor of Ossining, is also a military historian and military re-enactor and has been working on Saturday’s event for more than six months. He’s set to play Munson Lockwood, a former Ossining politician, as part of Saturday’s re-enactment of Civil War life. The Westchester Ballroom Dance Studio will also dress in period costumes and demonstrate popular Civil War-Era dances. The 124th New York State Volunteers, a military Civil War-Era reenactment unit based in Orange County will also reenact a battle during the day’s events.

The day’s events seek to capture “what life was like during the Civil War for everyone,” said Norman MacDonald, curator of the Ossining Historical Society Museum.

“It’s important because of those 100 men who lost their lives in the Civil War and it seems very appropriate that they are remembered and honored,” MacDonald said. “Everything that’s happening is really in honor of those veterans who died in the war that were from this area.”

Jamie Malanowski, a Briarcliff Manor writer for the New York Times’ Civil War blog, will also be in attendance Saturday to speak informally about the war. Malanowski said he wanted to join the event because it focused on local people who were involved in the Civil War.

“I think what’s really fascinating is that you can reach into these local histories and read about the people from the area and find very deep inspiration,” he said, referring to people like Briarcliff’s Admiral John Worden. “When you look at these individuals, you get a sense of life and the real people who went far away to fight battles and it’s quite moving. We’re so used to seeing the landscape through our eyes but you can drift back and use this as a window to see what it was like. You begin to appreciate how the people who lived before you laid that path for you and created that life you lead today.”

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