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Wind topples iconic military statue during Veteran's Day ceremony setup

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Wind topples iconic military statue during Veteran's Day ceremony setup
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Fort Drum normally hosts its Veteran's Day ceremony outside at Memorial Park, but severe weather forced officials to change their plans.

As crews set up tents for the event Wednesday night in anticipation of rain showers, a wind gust ripped tent stakes out of the ground and a giant tent hit and knocked over the iconic Military Mountaineer statue at the center of the park.

It's the monument used as the backdrop to most ceremonies, including those to remember fallen soldiers. Fortunately, the statue fell onto a pile of mulch and the damage was mostly just to the base.

"By the time I saw it, it had already been picked up and placed on a trailer, so I was relieved," Fort Drum Commanding General Stephen Townsend said. "When I woke up this morning and turned my Blackberry on and saw the headline on the email, my heart stopped for just a moment."

Crews hope to have the statue back up within the next two weeks.

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