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Keeping history alive

estoring the cannons at CBA was important to many alumni

Students from CBA raise the American flag and then lower it to half staff during the Christian Brother Academy Opening Day Flag Raising Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 9, in remembrance of the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. The event also saw the unveiling of the newly restored cannons, provided by the Watervliet Arsenal.

Students from CBA raise the American flag and then lower it to half staff during the Christian Brother Academy Opening Day Flag Raising Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 9, in remembrance of the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. The event also saw the unveiling of the newly restored cannons, provided by the Watervliet Arsenal. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— There were a lot of things to be mentioned during the Christian Brother Academy Opening Day Flag Raising Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 9, but for members of the Watervliet Arsenal, it was a chance to be honored for completing a very intricate project.

It was the celebration of the opening day for students at CBA and there was also time dedicated to remembering the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The main event, though, was the unveiling of the newly restored cannons. Before the cannons were restored they were sitting on cinderblocks instead of their original wheels. Thanks to members of the Watervliet Arsenal’s Apprentice Training Area, workers were able to manufacture replicas of the old wheels and Green Island Auto Body sandblasted and painted the cannons to give them their original look.

When CBA moved its campus from Albany to Colonie, it took the cannon’s with them. The first thing Colleen Ward, director of Institutional Advancement at CBA heard from alumni when she joined the school a year ago was the need to fix up the cannons.

“The first thing the alumni said to me was, ‘We haven’t seen the wheels on the cannons, can we get them restored?’” she said. “There’s such great alumni pride here and it’s really important that everything is the way they remembered it and there’s a lot of tradition and history. The school just celebrated its 150th year and the cannons were sitting on cinderblocks and they just didn’t want it that way.”

Ward decided to speak with the arsenal, the original owners of the cannons, and the arsenal’s machinist gave the project the go-ahead.

“We pretty much begged them because I thought it would be such a great thing,” she said. “When they found out that these cannons were made at the Watervliet Arsenal, they came and verified them, the rest is history from there.”

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