Before the start of the Folts Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing’s Veterans Day event on Thursday, some of the residents were already feeling patriotic.
As a pianist played the tune to “God Bless America” shortly before the start of the ceremony, those attending started to sing the lyrics to it.
“Veterans Day is a time to pay tribute to veterans and all they’ve done,” said Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Scarano, who was master of ceremonies.
The ceremony recognized the center’s 39 veterans: 15 residents and four staff members with the Army; 10 residents and one staff member with the Navy; six residents with the Air Force; and two residents and one staff member as vets. Assemblyman Marc Butler read their names and certificates were presented after the ceremony.
State Sen. James Seward said World War II veterans won the distinction of “the Greatest Generation” because “they fought tyranny on several continents at one time and were successful.” He also praised the vets of other conflicts, including the Korean War and Vietnam War, and those who served during peacetime.
“All those who served must be given the proper praise for a job well done,” he said.
“The true meaning of Veterans Day has got to be taught to our children so these traditions continue,” said Seward, R - Oneonta. “Our veterans deserve to know we appreciate them, and that America is better because of their service and sacrifice.”
Seward also said veterans should be thanked everyday for their service.
Butler talked about his own father’s experience in World War II, when he was seriously wounded and medics decided to assist less seriously wounded soldiers since they had a better chance of survival.
“It’s one of the harsh realities of war,” he said.
Butler, R - Newport, said, however, his father survived because a brave doctor and nurse chose to stay behind anyway and tend to his wounds.
“My father [William Butler] said, ‘There’s all kinds of courage during the war,’” he said. “… he thought of this doctor and nurse who put their lives on the line to save this seriously wounded man they didn’t even know.”
Butler said veterans are “heroic in their own way,” but noted many veterans are humble in what they did and think to themselves “I never did much, but you should see what the other guy did.”
The ceremony also included remarks from Herkimer Mayor Mark Ainsworth and a performance of “Taps” by Nicholas Higgins and William Paddock, Central Valley Academy students.