By Senator Patty Ritchie
In the month of May, we join as a nation to honor the brave men and women of our armed forces through “Military Appreciation Month.”
This week, I had the honor of hosting Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division, Major General Stephen Townsend, as well as several Fort Drum soldiers and commanders at the Capitol for “10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day.”
This second annual event celebrated the 10th Mountain Division and its troops for their ongoing role in our nation’s defense, as well as the post itself for the key role it plays in our region’s economy.
The visit to the Capitol was General Townsend’s first as Commanding General.
While at the Capitol, he addressed the Senate, a rare honor usually reserved for world and other distinguished leaders.
As part of the special event, a Color Guard of 10th Mountain Division troops presented the flag and led the Pledge to open the Senate’s daily public session, where the Senate recognized members of the 10th Mountain Division, represented by troops from New York, who were on the floor of the Senate for the ceremonies, with an official resolution.
Also, this week, Col. (Ret.) Terrence Roche was named to the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.
Col. Roche was selected from a group of 29 veterans from Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Oswego counties who were nominated for this special honor.
Col. Roche is a 26-year military veteran who was instrumental in the expansion of Fort Drum and continues to play a vital role in the success of the post through the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, which he helped create.
Here in Central and Northern New York, we see it every day. In line at the supermarket, volunteering, at church, at school, and many other places in our communities.
Men and women in uniform who have made tremendous sacrifices to serve our country.
The difference is, not everyone gets to see that firsthand.
That’s why I am working to expose my colleagues to the importance of Fort Drum, its soldiers and their families.
As Memorial Day approaches, we recall the men and women who lost their lives while serving our country.
I encourage you to not only remember those who made this ultimate sacrifice, but also to take the time to thank our troops who are serving now for their undying devotion to the protection of our country and our freedom.