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North Salem Thanks Veterans of All Ages

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Hundreds of local residents turned out Monday for North Salem’s traditional Memorial Day parade and to hear from 90-year-old Herb Geller, a World War II veteran.

In his opening speech at the memorial ceremony, Geller thanked “those men and women who set aside their civilian pursuits to serve their country during wartime.” 

“Many lives have been destroyed in our recent conflicts,” he said. “And those veterans deserve every benefit our government can give them, like financial aid for housing and jobs and a college education, just like my generation got.”

“In gratitude to our new veterans,” he said, “today’s parade and ceremony is specifically dedicated to the servicemen and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Supervisor Warren Lucas paid tribute to the people in the military who have made our way of life possible. “People in every nation where Americans have fought against tyranny and have died liberating them, remember what our soldiers have done for them.”

North Salem’s Town Historian, Susie Thompson, received a letter about a year ago from Antoine Nouens of Margraten, Holland. Nouens said the citizens of Margraten have adopted the graves of the Americans “who fought and died for our freedom” during World War II. The tradition has passed through the generations. Now they would like to erect a Memorial Center and are searching for photographs of all the soldiers.

“Nouens hadn’t been able to find a photo of Charles Ferguson Jr., who grew up in Croton Falls, then moved to Katonah, where he graduated from high school in 1938," Lucas said. "Charles was a medic who died in combat on Jan. 10, 1945.”

Unable to locate a 1938 Katonah High yearbook or any other photo, Thompson finally asked John Stockbridge, Bedford Town historian, to look through his files. “Yesterday, while digging for something else, he came across the misfiled 1938 Katonah yearbook — just in time for us to honor yet another extraordinary young man today.”

Lucas concluded, “Every American in uniform today represents a link in a chain that stretches back to the American Revolution. We cannot adequately express our gratitude to those who defend our nation in uniform, and especially those who died to obtain and protect our cherished freedoms.”

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