Photo caption: Tameka Patch, a Health Sciences student at North Country Community College who hails from Australia, speaks during the ANZAC Day service in Saranac Lake on April 25, 2018.
Saranac Lake – North Country Community College student Tameka Patch of Australia was among those who spoke at the village of Saranac Lake’s ANZAC Day service on April 25.
ANZAC, which stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps, is a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand that honors those who served and died in war.
The village has held a service every year since late December 2013, when 31-year-old Australian Army Capt. Paul McKay traveled to Saranac Lake for unknown reasons and, a few days later, died on Scarface Mountain in Ray Brook.
The village’s observance has traditionally served as a day of awareness about post-traumatic stress, from which McKay, a combat veteran of the war in Afghanistan, suffered.
Tameka, a Health Sciences major from Lennox Head, New South Wales, Australia, said she’s enjoyed her time as a student and soccer player at the college, but being away from home has been difficult.
“Being here celebrating ANZAC Day makes me feel much closer to home than ever,” she told the audience in the village’s World War I Memorial park at the corner of River and Church streets.
If she was home in Australia, Tameka said she’d normally be part of the ANZAC Day march and dawn service, events she said are filled with both sorrow and pride.
“ANZAC Day means to me, personally, that I am part of something greater than myself, and I represent my entire family when I march, including those who fought in the wars,” she said. “It makes me very proud to be an Australian to have such a day specifically for our army and those who have died in any way in relation to protecting our country. It really defines us as Australians and gives us our own legacy as a country.
“This day is a time to reflect and acknowledge what has been done for the next generation of Australians and also New Zealanders, and this ceremony is how we show our respect to them.”
Photo Caption: Maj. Ben Williams of the Australian Army talks about the history and meaning of ANZAC Day at the village of Saranac Lake’s ANZAC Day service on April 25, 2018.
This is the second consecutive year village Mayor Clyde Rabideau has asked an NCCC student from Australia to speak at the event.
The service also featured remarks from Major Ben Williams of the Australian Army, who spoke about the history of ANZAC Day, Tom Hines of the Australian Embassy in Washington D.C., Sam Hall, director of the St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers veteran’s program, and retired U.S. Army Col. Mike Derrick of Peru, New York.
Photo: Caption: Australian soldiers lay a wreath at the village of Saranac Lake’s World War I memorial as part of ANZAC Day services.
About North Country Community College: As the only public college located in the Adirondack Park, North Country Community College provides educational, cultural and recreational programming to a 3,500 square mile service area with a population of 90,000. The college maintains three campuses in Saranac Lake, Malone and Ticonderoga, New York; an extensive high school-based academic partnership; and online course offerings. North Country Community College is part of the SUNY (State University of New York) system. With 64 unique colleges and universities, SUNY provides learning environments for every type of student, every stage of life, and every kind of passion. For more information, visit www.nccc.edu.