They’re simple words:
But with patriotic music, poems, breakfasts and more, that’s what Schoharie County said to its veterans in events that started Wednesday and ran thorough Saturday, Veteran’s Day.
“We’re here to pay respect and especially to thank our living vets,” Frank Masterson of the Sharon Springs American Legion—himself a Navy vet—told Sharon’s Silver & Gold Senior Citizens Friday.
“We’re very grateful to have the opportunity. Our vets remind us all of our obligations.”
And to veterans, that simple act means a lot.
“It’s really nice to be thanked,” said Bob Klingbeil of Central Bridge as he sat with friends Don Bond and Ed Shaw, both of Cobleskill, at a Cobleskill Elks breakfast Saturday.
“It wasn’t that way when I came home from Vietnam and you just slipped back into your old life…”
Though he doesn’t have grandchildren at Cobleskill-Richmondville’s Ryder Elementary, a friend who does invited Mr. Klingbeil to Wednesday’s celebration there as a guest.
“It was an honor to be asked to represent vets,” he said. “It makes me proud to have served.”
Gary Schacher of Cobleskill was one of the vets at Radez Elementary’s celebration Thursday.
“The community support means a lot,” Mr. Schacher said. “It’s great to be here. It’s good to see all the young students showing their patriotism and respect.”
Richard Smith, another vet at Radez, echoed some of Mr. Kleinbeil’s words.
Mr. Smith was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He said that when soldiers left the base, they had to leave by the back gate, in civilian clothes, because there were so many people protesting out front.
“A lot of us served in a period of time when veterans were not appreciated,” Mr. Smith said.
“But now, these kids are going to grow up understanding what America stands for. Every one of us who served in another country couldn’t wait to get home. That says something about America.”
Back at the Elks, members of Girl Scout Troop 2368 were on hand to help with serving and cleaning up.
Leader Liz Kosier couldn’t stress the importance of what they were doing there.
“Every Girl Scout organization should be involved in community service, especially when it comes to veterans and thanking them for their service. For many of the girls, realizing what their grandfathers did, it gives them a special appreciation of all veterans.”
And that’s important, Mr. Schacher said:
Recognizing all vets.
“We have all different ages of veterans here…from a man who was recently discharged to a World War II vet. The camaraderie the veterans show each other is amazing.”
“It’s just nice to be thanked,” George Perry, who’ll celebrate his 100th birthday on November 22, said at the Sharon Firehouse, where, as they’d done at all of the celebrations, veterans introduced themselves and shared where and when they’d served.
“Thanks you for putting some other cause ahead of your own,” Mr. Smith said at Radez.
“Thank you very much for allowing us to serve you,” said John Morganstern, another vet there.
“We came here for the kids,” added Bill Lape. “This means a lot to a lot of guys. These students are learning to appreciate vets.”