Updated 11/13/2012 07:10 AM
Veterans honored in simple ceremony
They all share the common bond of serving their country, but every veteran has a unique story, their story of honor, of duty and of service above self. Those moments and memories have defined many and as our Erin Vannella discovered, they cannot be faded by time.
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Watch their faces and see the pride well up behind their smiles. A simple thanks is enough for these veterans on a day reserved for them.
"I was on the ground, I was a mechanic," said World War II veteran Ed Isles. "I saw some combat and stuff."
Isles and 27 others live at Kingsway Arms in Schenectady, where staff members took the afternoon to announce their names and ranks and pin a star each on the community flag.
"I think this provides some kind of closure," said Director of Therapeutic Rehabilitation Renee Markle. "I think it also provides some happy memories of returning home to their loved ones after seeing so much devastation and fear and anger and all of the emotions that no one can express unless they've been there."
Ask Isles about his comrades.
"It's hard to say, there was a group of guys you'd meet every couple days," said Isles. "You see them again, say you recognize them and say hello."
Or ask Lenny Tucker about learning to fly.
"The trainer that I had was quite mean," said Tucker. "He would yell everything so I didn't take his direction too well. The next morning when he came out for my second lesson, he was wearing a parachute so I said to him if he'd been wearing a parachute the day before. He said 'no, but with you, I'm wearing a parachute!'"
And consider what never leaves these men and women's minds, the sacrifices they made for self and family, country and constitution and how grateful they are and we are they're here to tell us about it.
"It was just something I had to do, you know," said Isles. "Thank God I got out alive, that's the big thing."