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Local News

November 12, 2013

Area veterans gather for solemn salute

Area veterans who attended ceremonies in Oneonta on Monday said they were appreciative of the recognition.

Oneonta American Legion Post 259 sponsored the Veterans Day activities attended by more than 50 people at Neahwa Park starting at 11 a.m. Refreshments were provided afterward at the Veterans Club on Chestnut Street by the Legion Auxiliary.

“As we honor our more than 23 million living veterans from the Greatest Generation to the latest generation, let us never forget this debt that is owed,” Legion Post Commander Len Carson told those assembled at the park. “Through their blood, service and sacrifice, veterans have given us freedom, security and the greatest nation on earth.”

While there is not a price that can repay their sacrifice, “the country needs to at least serve its veterans as well as they have served their nation and say ‘thank you for what you have done for your country,’” he said.

Beth Akulin, of Oneonta, served in Air Force military intelligence from 1979 to 1993, achieving the rank of technical sergeant before retiring.

“Our needs are starting to be addressed,” but organizations like the Veterans Administration still have a long way to go.

Veterans Day ceremonies provide a chance to really connect with others who have served, she said, adding: “It’s nice to be acknowledged.”

Lou Palombo, of Sidney, was a past commander of the Disabled American Veterans. He served in the Army, achieving the rank of chief warrant officer 2, including a tour in the Vietnam War in 1966.

“I think we have to continue to honor our veterans,” he said. “We need to support them as much as we can,” he said.

Tom Speranzi was a Marine from 1951-4. He achieved the rank of corporal, spending a year in Korea during that war.

“I was lucky,” he said. When he got out he had a great job and family to support him. “I am sorry for those who don’t have these advantages,” but in the current economy the options are limited, he said.

The Legion is about serving veterans, Carson said, but the younger generations are not well-represented. The organization is reaching out, both nationally and locally, to make sure those who have served in all generations are involved in its programs, he said.

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