Amer­i­can Le­gion thanks Paw­tucket vet­er­ans

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JONATHAN BISSONNETTE jbis­son­nette@paw­tuck­et­

PAW­TUCKET – Cum­ber­land res­i­dent and United States Navy vet­eran Paul Buss wants Amer­i­cans to stand to­gether, united as one, as proud of their coun­try and its vet­er­ans as na­tions around the world do on Ar­mistice Day.

Vet­er­ans Day is cel­e­brated in the United States on November 11, but in many Euro­pean na­tions, the eleventh day of the eleventh month is re­garded as Ar­mistice Day – to mark the day in which peace was reached to end World War I.

Buss, who served four years with the U.S. Navy as a third-class petty of­fi­cer, is now a mem­ber of the House Com­mit­tee at Cum­ber­land’s Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 14. He was on hand at the Oak Hill Health and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter in Paw­tucket on Fri­day af­ter­noon, as staffers and city of­fi­cials com­mended and thanked the cen­ter’s 14 vet­er­ans.

“It was a very nice cer­e­mony,” Buss said. “We need to re­mem­ber our vet­er­ans, es­pe­cially as they get older. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber th­ese guys and girls and to not for­get them.”

Buss was raised in a fam­ily with a proud mil­i­tary her­itage, as his brother served from the age of 18 un­til he was 60 years old in both ac­tive duty and re­serve ca­pac­ity, and his un­cle fought in World War II and then served an­other 35 years af­ter the war.

“This is one of the big hol­i­days of the year,” Buss said of Vet­er­ans Day, which started as Ar­mistice Day to mark the end of World War I.

Su­san Cook­son, the ac­tiv­i­ties di­rec­tor at Oak Hill, handed out plaques to each of the vet­er­ans on hand at Fri­day’s cer­e­mony, thank­ing them for their ser­vice. Fol­low­ing a

brief snack of cake and juice, a cer­e­mony was then held, dur­ing which the cen­ter was given a flag that flew over the U.S. Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

“Those of us who have not served will never fully un­der­stand the sac­ri­fices made in times of peace and war,” Cook­son said to open Fri­day’s fete. “We can never fully un­der­stand what you were re­quired to do or how you were able to do it. We’ll never fully un­der­stand the depth of the scars, but what we can of­fer you is this – we see you, we rec­og­nize your

hu­man­ity, and we send you love that is gen­tle, pa­tient, and heal­ing.”

Russell Bourski, also of the Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 14, served nearly 38 years with the United States Air Force. He said he was proud to thank the vet­er­ans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Viet­nam War who were present on Fri­day.

“Vet­er­ans Day means so much, to come to­gether be­cause of ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened af­ter World War I and World War II. We feel ev­ery­one needs to be rec­og­nized and thanked,” Bourski said. “We can’t thank them enough. That’s the value that our broth­ers and sis­ters have shared. We’re all broth­ers and sis­ters.”

At-Large City Coun­cilor Albert J. Vi­tali Jr. of­fered greetings and well-wishes from the City Coun­cil.

“With­out you folks, we wouldn’t be stand­ing here to­day. As a young man, my fa­ther was a vet­eran of World War II and he got a Bronze Star. He al­ways taught me at a young age to honor those who serve the coun­try, be­cause with­out you we wouldn’t have what we have to­day,” Vi­tali said. “From the bot­tom of my heart, I want to say thank you, God bless you, and God bless Amer­ica.”

Pho­tos by Jonathan BIs­son­mette

United States Navy vet­eran Ray Ward, left, re­ceives a plaque and shakes hands with fel­low Navy vet­eran and Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 14 mem­ber Paul Buss.

Im­ages of the vet­er­ans be­ing cel­e­brated on Fri­day at Oak Hill Health and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter.

United States Navy vet­eran Charles What­mough, left, shakes hands with fel­low Navy vet­eran and Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 14 mem­ber Paul Buss and Oak Hill Health and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter ac­tiv­i­ties di­rec­tor Su­san Cook­son.

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