2012-07-05 / Front Page

UPDATED: County Bicentennial event at Constitution Island

West Point fireworks, historic setting, rousing celebration
Eric Gross

Putnam’s proud history came to life Sunday for 150 guests who traveled to Constitution Island in the Hudson River across from West Point for a gala to help celebrate the county’s bicentennial.

Cocktails and light refreshments at Garrison’s Landing preceded a 22-minute boat ride to the historic, federally owned landmark, where historians tell us a massive, heavy chain was pulled from the shoreline to block boat access up the Hudson in an act of defiance against British tyranny during the Revolutionary War.

Former Gov. George Pataki, who led a list of distinguished list of guests attending the celebration, told the Courier and PCN&R that attendees were proud to be “right smack in the Hudson Highlands where so much history determined the nature of our country. Imagine four hundred soldiers looking down the river facing an armada of the mightiest empire in the world. It makes us all feel proud that America was created by a handful of people who dedicated their lives to the patriotic cause of freedom.”

First Lady Libby Pataki, now serving as Putnam’s Director of Tourism, described the island as “hallowed ground.”

Standing along the shoreline of the majestic river as cannon fire sounded at West Point, Odell admitted pinching herself, asking: “Is this really happening?”

Wearing a beautiful royal blue dress, the executive said she believes that Putnam’s proud history must be “shared and remembered. We now must look forward to the next 200 years. Tonight is a great time to be an American and it’s a wonderful time to live in Putnam County—one of the most beautiful, peaceful and safest places on earth.”

At nightfall, a magnificent fireworks display was the icing on the cake for the guests, who included a number of state, county and local officials, business people from across the county, and other names, including Patty Hearst of Garrison, the American newspaper heiress.


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‘No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.’ ~Hal Borland