Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
Dave Bullard 315-487-7711 x 1377

August 10, 2015

New Memorial to War Dogs to Be Unveiled in Veterans Memorial Park on Armed Forces Day during the 2015 Great New York State Fair

Iraq War Veteran to Tell the Story of How His Service Dog Saved His Life

Day Also Includes Military Bands, Military Vehicle Displays

The Veterans Memorial at the Great New York State Fair has for many years honored those members of the armed forces who have served our country.  This year, the Fair will add a new memorial, dedicated to the military working dogs that served alongside our nation’s service members. The unveiling of the new War Dogs Memorial will be a highlight of the day set aside to honor past and current members of the armed services, announced Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner.

There are many new elements to the day, beginning with a new name for what had been previously called Veterans Day.  Thursday, September 3 will now be known as Armed Forces Day, and pays tribute to all members who have served in the military, past and present.  Admission to the Fair on Armed Forces Day is free for any current military service member or any veteran with proof of service such as a VA ID card, American Legion card, or VFW card.

Dogs have been used in war for several thousand years as weapons, sentries, scouts, and trackers.  They have searched for bombs, for bodies trapped in rubble, and have also provided important aid and comfort to veterans recovering from their war experiences.

The War Dogs Memorial was created by the Eagle Association of Central New York, a non-profit organization based in Liverpool, NY. The Eagle Association also maintains the Veterans Memorial at the Fairgrounds.  The War Dog Memorial is a dark stone of upright marble.  Engraved into the stone is the silhouette of a combat veteran and a dog leashed to his hand, walking towards the viewer.  A plaque notes that the memorial honors dogs and their handlers which “gallantly served in war and peace.”  Dogs that are in active service in the military or that served in the past will be present for the ceremony.   Service dogs, who provide invaluable assistance and companionship to our veterans, will also be in attendance.

“These amazing animals have fought on the front lines and assisted our servicemen and servicewomen in order to protect our freedom. This memorial will pay tribute to the dogs who have served during wartime, and will also serve as a special reminder of the thousands who have been killed in action.  We are proud to host this beautiful and solemn memorial,” said Waffner.

The War Dog Memorial will be unveiled during the day’s annual ceremony at 11 a.m. September 3.  The event will include a wreath laying by members of the military, assisted by Gold Star mothers, as well as brief memorial speeches from dignitaries.

The day will also feature an appearance from former U.S. Army Captain Luis Carlos Montalván.  He is the New York Times bestselling author of “Until Tuesday,” a memoir that details Montalván’s physical and psychological wounds from combat in Iraq and his slide into depression, isolation, and substance abuse upon his return home.  His recovery began when he met Tuesday, a golden retriever and highly-trained service dog.

Montalván will read from his book and sign copies of it during his appearance at 3 p.m. in the Empire Theater of the Art and Home Center. Limited copies of “Until Tuesday” as well as Montalván’s award-winning children’s book, “Tuesday Tucks Me In,” will be available for purchase prior to the book signing in the lobby of the Empire Theater.

“Tuesday and I are humbled to participate in this year's fair, particularly as members of the disabled, Latino and veteran communities, especially in this monumental year commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The fact that Governor Andrew Cuomo and our state's leaders have made and continue to make great strides for New Yorkers of all backgrounds makes this year's New York State Fair that much more of a reason to celebrate and reflect on progress and patriotism," Montalván said.

Montalván, with Tuesday at his side, will speak during the memorial service as well.

Other new elements of the day include:

  • A display of authentic vintage military vehicles on the Fairgrounds, courtesy of the New York-Penn Military Vehicle Club, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  People will be able to sit in some of the vehicles for pictures, while club members in authentic military uniforms of the time period will be on hand to answer questions.  Some of the vehicles will take part in the Fair’s daily parade at 6 p.m.  The Marine Corps’ 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion will display vehicles throughout the day at the Veterans Memorial and take part in the parade.
  • Performances at the Regional Artists Variety Stage by the 10th Mountain Division Band from Fort Drum at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. and the 42nd Infantry Division Band at 7:30 p.m.  The 42nd Infantry Division Band will also march in the Fair’s daily parade at 6 p.m.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 27 to September 7, 2015.  The Fair’s mission, reflected in its theme, “Summer’s Best in Show,” is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment. 

In addition to the annual New York State Fair, the Fairgrounds host dozens of agricultural events throughout the year, including some of the Northeast’s most prestigious horse and livestock shows.

The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website.  Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, and enjoy photos from the Fair at Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at

2015 Press Releases