Submitted by guest blogger Susan Repko
Every Memorial Day in Schroon Lake, I walk into the crowd by the Veterans Wall to attend the annual ceremony. I stand by the town’s classic bandstand, where you can see the lake sparkling in the morning sun. We gather as a community to honor our veterans. The ceremony is typical of others around the country with flags catching the sun, music moving our patriotism, and veterans proudly wearing their military uniform. Standing there with my family, friends, and neighbors in this Adirondack town is Americana at its best.
I am proud to know many of the folks who participated in this year’s ceremony. They include the veterans who blend into our town during the year, Pastor Cole who is leading her congregation through the rebuilding of the Community Church, and the high school student who played taps. As in past years, the Patriot Guard Riders arrived on their motorcycles and the local Boy Scouts stood in formation near the Color Guard.
During the ceremony, I thought of my veteran ancestors who must have stood on this same spot and saw our pristine lake stretch into the mountains. Their names are inscribed on the wall and I am proud to run my fingers over them. My grandfather was an Army sniper during WWI, his grandfather served in the NY 93rd Regiment during the Civil War, another fought in the War of 1812, and my husband served in the Army during the Vietnam Era.
Schroon Lake is opening
Over Memorial Day weekend you can sense an awakening in Schroon Lake. The town is coming alive after a gray winter that stretched too far into the calendar. The arrival of spring seemed to surprise us this year, making it even more wonderful. Once the snow has receded, you can notice more activity on the streets and sidewalks. People react to the sunshine and freshly planted gardens with bright smiles and happy greetings.
There’s a rhythm to life in Schroon Lake, a town of 1,600 people. As winter disappears from Main Street, local merchants get their shops ready to open. I enjoy welcoming families as they walk down the sidewalks and check out the quaint shops. I hear that a few tough individuals have even gone swimming. It’s too early for me, but soon it will be wonderful to jump off a dock and play with my little ones on the beach. I never get tired of settling into the white Adirondack chairs that face the water, feeling the warm sand on my bare feet, and taking in the postcard-like view of the lake and mountains.
During the summer months, it is impossible to take part in all the activities and events in Schroon Lake. The town’s 4th of July celebration must be the best one in the Adirondacks. The classic parade moves down Main Street while families sit on the curb or in beach chairs and stretch to see what’s next. Afterward, the crowd walks to the park to secure their place on the lawn and watch the fireworks flash over the lake.
Square dancing on Wednesday evenings is a town tradition where families laugh as they try not to run into each other. My favorite evening out is going to the Seagle Music Colony for an opera or Broadway show. On summer afternoons, I have the choice to kayak on the lake, play pickleball on the new tennis courts, or enjoy an iced tea with a friend in a café.
I believe that we are fortunate to live in this town and be surrounded by nature. Our community is a mix of people who graduated from the school, retirees who decided to make the move, and young families whose children attend to our one-building school. Together we experience Adirondack life with its challenging winter weather. Perhaps that’s what binds us together as a community.
During the ceremony on Memorial Day, I hear life going on as usual on Main Street. Cars drone by and people chat at Stewart's. But the crowd stands at a whisper to show respect for our veterans. It is a quintessential American experience.
We enjoy welcoming visitors to our small town and asking, “so what brings you to Schroon Lake”?