Commemorating the Battle of Bennington

August 16, 2019 11:55 PM

HOOSICK, NY - It was said of another great battle, in another war four score in the future that "the world will little note nor long remember what happened here." The proud people who gather each year to commemorate the Battle of Bennington want to make sure others remember that what happened in their community August 16, 1777 was historically momentous.

"Americans gave their lives on this ground so we can enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today," said David Pitlyk, an Historic Site Assistant for New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.


To mark the occasion, townsfolk turned out in period costume. There were cannon blasts, wreath layings, and historical readings.

There is also a Revolutionary encampment, on the same hallowed battlefield where American patriots died while fighting and crippling General John Burgoyne's British Army troops. It's on that battlefield where the youth of the community immerse themselves in history.

"I've always believed that kids learn best when something engages them," said Katie Brownell, a local school teacher, "When they can play with something and when they can touch something, what better way to learning something in a hands-on way then by living it themselves?"

Brownell figures when her students immerse themselves in history, it helps them retain what they've learned much better.

"People sacrificed their lives for us," noted Ryan Sparks, a fifth grader. "Nothing really you can make up for that."

"We charged the hill and survived with 30 or 40 people left," Lila Coon, a seventh grader added.

General Burgoyne lost nearly 1,000 men on the hilltop in eastern Rensselaer County.l Most historians agree if there was no American victory at Bennington, there might not have been a victory one month later at Saratoga, the battle that essentially ended the Revolutionary War.

"No Bennington, no victory at Saratoga, no French aid, no America," Brownell asserted.

Yes, the Battle of Bennington was THAT significant. And the people in Hoosick who are caretakers of that historic legacy will continue to remember, and continue to fight so that no one ever forgets what happened there.

"Sometimes this battle is overlooked,"Brownell surmises, "So it's nice for them to understand and to grasp the significance of the Battle of Bennington and have this beautiful gem right here in their backyard."


Dan Levy

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