Thanksgiving Feast Puts Smiles of Veterans Faces in Putnam
MAHOPAC, N.Y. – Veterans got their just desserts both literally and figuratively Saturday afternoon as State Sen. Greg Ball and the Putnam County community thanked them for their service with a Thanksgiving meal.
Veterans and their families gathered at the Putnam County Golf Course for the feast for the third year in a row. As they walked to their seats, groups of boy and girl scouts, family members and well-wishers applauded their entrance and for all they have given to the United States.
“I see full grown men with tears in their eyes telling me this is the first time they have ever been thanked for their service,” Ball said. “This is the greatest country the world has ever known because of the brave men and women who died and those who have both internal and external scars. The sacrifices of their families need to be honored in a fitting way.”
Ball stressed that though his office set up the event, it is not about him in anyway.
“I can’t cook 110 turkeys,” Ball said.
Ball said it is everybody in the community that pulled together to pay tribute to the veterans that deserve a thank you for the event. Ball said that the dinner also serves as a way to salute the veterans while pulling the community together in a special way.
“I hope it speaks to your heart because it speaks to mine,” Ball said. “We do this as an opportunity to thank the veterans throughout the Hudson Valley who served in very tough conditions and were never thanked properly if at all.
Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, said that November is an important month for veterans with both Veterans Day being celebrated to honor them and with Thanksgiving as a chance where they can gather with their families.
“We always remember that our right to assemble here today has been fought and paid for by those Americans past and present and will be preserved by Americans of the future who love this country so much they put on the uniform of the United States and march to the sounds of guns to keep us free,” Smith said.
Lt. Col. Neil Gross, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said that it’s important to remember that the perks people enjoy in the United States are because of what veterans did. Gross, who fought in Vietnam, said that it is also important that the young people who participated in the event learn firsthand what it is like to be part of a community and to give back to it.
“That is an invaluable lesson,” Gross said. “It’s gratifying having the different generations of veterans together. For us Vietnam vets, to stand with the greatest generation from World War 2 and be counted with them and the veterans of Korea right up to Afghanistan shows a brotherhood.”