Goal: America’s Best Thank You for Veterans
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag."
- “The Soldier” - Father Denis Edward O‘Brien, Sergeant, USMC
SARATOGA SPRINGS – As part of a program that was thick with reverence and gratitude on Tuesday, April 5, Lou Schneider, a Korean War Veteran and Saratoga Lions Club member delivered this quote. The gathering, at the Saratoga Springs Military Museum, was held to detail some new enhancements to a program that honors Veterans locally on Memorial Day weekend.
The enhancements to the Lions’ “Honor A Veteran” program, to augment a successful Memorial Day Duathlon, now in it’s twelfth year, were presented by President of the Saratoga Springs lions Club Foundation, Matt Jones; Co-Chair of the Saratoga Lions Memorial Day Duathlon, Bill Gibeault; Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan; and Saratoga WarHorse Executive Director and President. Katherine Pelham. Each of them also recounted personal connections and tributes to Veterans in their respective families.
The program will now have several new components, designed to create America’s Best Thank You:
- A customized, personalized Flag program: a 12 x 14 inch, U.S. made flag with the name of a specific veteran on a ribbon, can be purchased online for $5 (visit HonorAVeteran.us). The flags will be displayed on a virtual “wall of honor” and they will be on display during The Lions’ Duathlon on May 29. Any individual or company that wishes to honor more than 10 Veterans may call 518-573-6191 to make direct arrangements.
All proceeds from the flag program will go to Saratoga WarHorse.
- Flag Tour: After being displayed at the Duathlon, the flags will be relocated to several sites around the city of Saratoga Springs. Locations will include the Visitor Center and a site at the Wesley Community. Other tour sites around the city are under consideration.
- Four Veterans from Saratoga County will be selected for special honors – one each with service in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan. Nominations are encouraged. These four Veterans will also be honored at a special luncheon on May 12, and they will serve as Honorary Race Marshalls at the Duathlon.
- The Lions Veterans will host an honorary meet and greet with all Veterans at a VIP tent on Duathlon day. This will serve as an opportunity for young children and the community to talk with our Veterans and share their experiences.
Among many interesting facts shared at the program, was a sobering one shared by Ms. Pelham: An average of 22 of our Veterans commit suicide every day. Today was a day of recognition and honor, but most of all, a reminder that we can never do enough to enough to extend that recognition and honor to those who make the ultimate sacrifice to assure the freedoms that we enjoy today.