I firmly believe that military service transcends politics

— Photo posted on Berne Happenings facebook.com

To the Editor:  
Although I am not a resident of Berne, I have been reading about events in Berne for years. I am retired  from the military and that is why I am writing.  

As I understand it, the family and friends of Berne veterans must be aware of and pay for picture banners of veterans and the town of Berne will hang the banners. While at first blush this seems commendable, it strikes me as also singularly self-serving.  

Why is it that those running for and serving as GOP-backed members of the Berne Town Board only  purchased a banner for another GOP-backed board member and supervisor candidate who has lived in  the town for a short time?

What about all the other Berne veterans and true hometown heroes? Isn’t Berne proud enough, of all her sons and daughters who served, to invest in a proper expression of appreciation?  

In Cohoes, we have the Colonel Robert Craner Service Medal. It is presented by the city of Cohoes to all  our Cohoes veterans from World War II forward including the deceased.

In order to qualify for the  medal, the veteran or his or her family must send the city a completed “DD214 Certificate of Release of Discharge from Active Duty” form. This verifies that the veteran lived in Cohoes when he or she enlisted and that he or she received an honorable discharge.

I firmly believe that military service transcends politics. You are not a Republican or a Democrat but  rather a member of the United States military. You are a servicemember fighting for our country. The  federal government and the State of New York recognize veterans with service medals. Why not the  town of Berne?

Some would say that cost is a factor. However, the town of Berne recently agreed to a new labor  contract that incurred considerable cost (with some raises of more than 12 percent). The town has purchased at least $400,000 in trucks and highway equipment over the past couple of years. It seems to me that the town has ample funds for military-service medals for Berne veterans.  

Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan servicemen have a lot in common, including no welcome-home parades,  reduced health care, and a “so what” attitude in general. These veterans feel unappreciated.

Their time  in the military means nothing to anyone except their families. A service medal would be a gesture that  their community cares.

On the back side of the Colonel Robert Craner Service Medal are three words, “Cohoes Thanks You.”  Does Berne?

George Hebert 


Editor’s note: The banner honoring Dennis Palow was paid for not by the town of Berne but by the Bashwinger, Clayton, and Lyons families, the banner says.

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