- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2016

GEDDES, N.Y. (AP) - Thousands of people are expected to attend the annual “watchfire” event held every Memorial Day weekend at the New York State Fair.

Watchfires were used starting in ancient times to help soldiers find their way back home from battlefields. Organizers of Sunday night’s event say the modern-day version honors fallen American soldiers and symbolizes the effort to bring home all those listed as missing in action.

The watch fire at the state fairgrounds in Geddes, outside Syracuse, involves the burning of a huge pile of pallets and other wood. Retired and tattered U.S. flags collected by veterans’ groups are placed on the pile so they can be disposed of in an honorable manner.

Organizers say they expect more than 25,000 people to turn out for the event.

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