EASTCHESTER, N.Y. Vietnam veteran Bob Foster was happy the Girl Scouts brought homemade cookies to a celebration in honor of Veterans Day in Tuckahoe Friday morning.
"Veterans Day is a live holiday, a holiday to celebrate those who defended our country and are still here," Foster said. "It's a day we hope people remember that we gave up a part of our life to defend our country and say a very simple thank you."
Veterans gathered with town officials at the Parkway Oval in Tuckahoe to take some time to remember their days in the service. Foster is the Post Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2285 who has members who have served in every war since World War II and who now live mostly in Eastchester, Tuckahoe or Bronxville.
While Foster, a Vietnam War veteran, said most veterans nowadays have positive experiences, he worries that future generations will forget some of the difficult times, such as the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.
"I was in a school recently and throughout the classroom there were displays of important days of history," Foster said. "Pearl Harbor was not one of them. Close to 3,000 soldiers lost their lives on that day."
Foster said that remembering veterans who lost their lives and the ones still here is one of the reasons he and his group go to all the parades and events they are invited to.
"Having people remember what we did, especially the kids, is our greatest reward and tribute," Foster said.
Town of Eastchester Supervisor Anthony Colavita, who attended the Friday morning ceremony, doesn't think one day a year to celebrate living veterans is enough.
"It seems grossly inadequate," Colavita said. "We live under the freedoms they provided for us 365 days. We should thank them every day. "
Eastchester Town Board member Glenn Bellitto said he is particularly honored to see the veterans of World War II still making appearances.
"I think it is so important to say thank you, thank you for what you all went through for us," said Bellitto, who was joined at the tribute by fellow board member Joe Dooley.
"I hope this day reminds us to walk up to a veteran or someone still in the service whenever we see them and say thank you," Dooley said.
After the morning tribute and a celebratory brunch held at The Quarry restaurant in Tuckahoe, which Foster said honors veterans every day with a discount, Foster and his comrades were headed up to the VA Hospital in Montrose. There they would spend some time at the nursing home for veterans. Then they would head over to the hospital itself where many are undergoing treatment for post traumatic stress syndrome.
"We will stay for awhile, tell a few stories, share our cookies and say thank you to those veterans for all they have done," Foster said.
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