The watchfire holds an important place in military history.
Traditionally, it was lit after a long battle or march as a guiding light to bring a unit's separated troops back together.
Today, the annual watchfire in Syracuse serves much the same purpose.
"It means really a chance for veterans to get together and reminisce about, you know, serving our country and what our country means to us," said Peter Bronstad, watchfire committee co-chair.
The local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association has lit the watchfire on the Sunday before Memorial Day every year since 1987.
It has 2,500 tons of logs and lumber, a memory board signed by the thousands of veterans and community members who come out for the event, and thousands of American flags.
All of the flags are no longer fit to fly because of wear and tear.
They're brought to the watchfire to be respectfully retired as prescribed by federal law.
"It's just a huge bonfire. There's so many levels that that meets with people and community and and remembering," said Holly Moore.
Moore co-authored a commemorative book in honor of the watchfire's 25th anniversary.
The money from its sales will help fund the watch fire event this year and help keep it burning bright in the future.
You can buy a copy of the book at this year's watchfire.
It'll be lit at dusk on May 27.
"The Watchfire" book is also available for sale at watchfire committee co-chair Bill Martin's business, Westvale Gardens, 2400 West Genessee Street, Syracuse.
The book costs $20.
Anyone with military ID can get it for $15.
People who want to contribute unserviceable flags to this year's watchfire can drop them off in person at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse beginning the Friday evening before the event.
Flags will continue to be accepted up to about an hour before the fire is lit on Sunday.
If you're not going to attend the watchfire, but would still like to retire your flag, drop it off at the Fort Drum Public Affairs Office, Building 10012, by close of business May 21.
The Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization is also collecting flags.
The watchfire event is free and open to veterans and non-veterans alike.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, because the parking lot fills up fast.
People may (but do not have to) bring their own lawn chairs, etc.
Refreshments are available on site.