CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. – More than 200 gathered at the Muriel H. Morabito Community Center in Cortlandt to honor veterans. Veterans from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan were present to be honored, and to show their support for services provided at the Montrose VA hospital.
“I woke up this morning, and my spirits were pretty good,” said veteran’s advocate and Purple Heart Awardee William Nazario. “This is because our troops are coming home from Afghanistan.”
Nazario went on to say that veterans of the Hudson Valley were both “blessed” and “cursed” by the “beautiful property” where the Montrose VA sits on. Cursed, said Nazario, because it is constantly in the crosshairs of developers.
The guest speaker of the ceremony, Dr. John A. McGurty Jr., described how he witnessed many wounded veterans being taken off transports for treatment at a hospital in Germany. Each soldier, he said, was greeted by a chaplain, “to tell them that they are safe, and we will take care of them.”
“We must be definitive in supporting this VA system,” he said about the Hudson Valley VA System. McGurty also described how many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), a type of injury not seen as commonly in previous wars. He called the future effects of these injuries uncertain, but said that the VA should be there to provide for the veterans.
According to a proclamation by Governor Andrew Cuomo, there are about 22.4 million veterans in the United States today, and about 900,000 live in New York.
According to State Senator Greg Ball (R- North Westchester, Putnam), many Americans have become disconnected from veterans because “less than one percent is doing all the dirty work,” he said in reference to the United States’ current “all volunteer” army.
“They’re getting 10 percent off on a car, and 30 percent off on a sweater, and that is not what Veterans Day is about,” said Ball, who served in the military and is chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. (ARTICLE)