ALBANY, N.Y. — The souls who carry heavy memories from war were thanked in Albany on Tuesday for bearing the burden of our freedom.
World War II Veteran and Newburgh resident Warren Craig described, “We got hit 57 times. And I ended up jumping into the ocean at 12 o’clock at night, swimming with the sharks and the enemy.”
Craig enlisted when he was 17-years-old.
Fifty-four men and women have been added to the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame for what they’ve done and kept doing over the years.
Senator Greg Ball explained, “Their heart never took the uniform off. And they continue to serve for the rest of their life.”
These men and women’s lives would then never be the same. Among them are Capt. Gerry West and Sgt. Robert Addison, who both served in the United States Marine Corp. during World War II. The two were part of the Edson’s Raiders, the original 900 members of a commando unit, and survived the battles of the Pacific Theater after Pearl Harbor.
“The bloody ridge on Guadalcanal. We were both there. It brings back a lot of memories,” said Addison, who now lives in Glens Falls.
West said, “The bad battles, like Bloody Ridge. You never forget something like that. We still talk about it and things we never forget.”
West resides in Fort Edward now.
“We’ve known each other for 71 years. Since February of ’42, so what would that be? 71 years,” he confirmed.
Now neighbors in the North Country, the two Edson’s Raiders are still right by each others’ side.
“Well, I just live down the road from him, so we’ve kept in touch all the time,” said Addison.
These legacies are once again being remembered and passed onto the younger generation.
“I grab a hold of fellas that don’t know what to do and take them with me, to get them started,” said Craig. “There’s so much opportunity out there.”
Troy native Daniel Honsinger, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said, “God bless America, that’s all.”