American Legion thanks Pawtucket veterans
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.”
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.