Amsterdam honors its veterans with a parade; 3 receive medals
AMSTERDAM Hundreds of people lined the streets for a Veterans Day Parade on Monday morning before filling the city’s World War I Memorial Park for a ceremony to recognize three veterans with the Amsterdam Service Medal.
Members of American Legion Post 701 in Amsterdam led the colorful parade west along Guy Park Avenue.
Current and former soldiers, flags and fire trucks, and the Amsterdam High School Junior ROTC worked their way through the city with the Amsterdam High School Marching Rams’ band and color guard close behind.
Former City Judge Robert Going described the proud military history of several Amsterdam residents, including his grandfather.
“This is an amazing community,” Going said.
Several speakers called on the public to remember the sacrifice veterans make and the impact it has on their lives.
“Those that have marched in parades have returned to us, but remember also that others have not,” Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said.
“Or that they have returned to us broken, in need of our full support as a nation and community, as friends and family. This is what Veterans Day is all about,” she said.
State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, a member of the state Senate’s standing committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, urged people to do more than wish veterans a good day.
“So when you see a veteran, please say thank you for your service but also ask them how they’re doing. Give them a chance to tell you their story, give them a chance to tell you ‘I could use some help,’ and then, please help them,” she said.
State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1990 to 1998, said credit is due to those who gave of themselves for military service.
“Their sacrifices have safeguarded our way of life, and without them, our country would not nearly be what it is today,” he said.
Robert von Hasseln, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who is now Amsterdam’s community and economic development director, recited the military history of three Amsterdam residents before Mayor Ann Thane pinned the city’s Veteran Service Medals on their lapels.
Receiving medals Monday were Joseph A. Pepe, a Navy senior fire control technician from 1955 to 1957; Bruce E. Raila, a retired Air Force technical sergeant who served from 1982 to 2007; and William J. Liberis, a retired Air Force master sergeant who served from 1968 to 1998.