His wife, Suzanne O’Donnell, 44, served in the 204th Engineering Battalion of the state National Guard in Oneonta from 1986-93.
The day was “a time to remember people that have served,” including those who have lost their lives “giving people the freedoms they are accustomed to,” she said.
Recently, there is better recognition of veterans’ contributions and the problems they face when they return, she said. This includes in the last 10 years, a greater awareness of women who have served. “When I went in that wasn’t common.”
Amos Bates Jr., 69, of Oneonta, was in the Army from 1962-65. He was in the National Guard for eight years after. While people may be too busy to honor veterans on their day, “we hang together,” he said. Organizations like the Legion and VFW play an important role in the fight for veterans’ benefits. While he is pretty healthy, there are many people who need the services, he said.
Richard Gorence, 72, of Oneonta, served in the Army from 1965-70, including time in Vietnam. The country better appreciates the contributions of veterans, he said. However with so many people recently in the military, he hopes young and old get the care they need.
Charlie Luckhurst, 73, of Oneonta, has served in the Air Force from 1955-63, including time in Vietnam. He served in the Air National Guard for 21 years after that.
“It’s great,” that more attention is being paid to veterans, he said. While they receive a lot of support in returning, more can be done to help them find jobs, he said.
John Forman, 83, of Kingston, has been a member of the Oneonta and VFW and American Legion for more than 50 years. He enlisted in the Army in 1946. The country could do better in helping veterans return. There are a lot, especially the young and wounded that they are waiting too long for care, he said. “They are not being treated in a timely manner.”