By Senator Patty Ritchie
From 1941 to 1945, more than one million New Yorkers served in the military and each and every one of them has a story to tell.
That’s what I discovered through my “Veterans Voices” program, an initiative designed to preserve veteran experiences for future generations and create a permanent record of service.
This year, I decided to focus on collecting the stories of World War II veterans living in Central and Northern New York.
As a result of the effort, I was able to collect more than thirty interviews, which were all submitted, to the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs.
I was so pleased to have had the opportunity to listen to the stories of our local veterans who made so many sacrifices, but, more importantly, I am thrilled that these conversations will now be forever a part of our state archives, preserved for our future generations to not only listen to, but to learn from as well.
In honor of Veterans’ Day, I encourage you to visit my website to hear their stories of struggle, bravery and devotion to their country.
In addition, here are some other ways you can recognize and support our troops:
· Send a touch of cheer: The holidays can be a lonely time for our troops serving overseas and for many of our veterans. I encourage you to help send holiday greetings to our service members through my “Holiday Mail” program. To participate, greeting cards can be dropped off at my district offices in Oswego, Watertown and Ogdensburg, as well as several other locations throughout Central and Northern New York.
You can find details on my website, www.ritchie.nysenate.gov
· Volunteer: Living in such close proximity to Fort Drum, there are a number of ways to volunteer and support our troops at the same time. The USO is always looking for people to get involved in an effort to positively impact soldiers, veterans and their families.
· Simply say “thanks”: Whether you’re at the gas pump or the grocery store, if you see someone who has served or is currently serving, take the time to thank them for their contributions. You’d be surprised how much it means.
Honoring our troops isn’t just important on Veterans’ Day, it’s important year-round.
I encourage you to take the time to pay tribute to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the protection of our country and our freedom.