By MEGAN ULRICH
Express News Staff
We end our six issue tribute to veterans this week with a nod to each and every person that has served in the United States Military.
We spoke to Charlie Kiefer, who left his home in Old Forge at eighteen and found himself in post World War II Berlin. He travelled across the Atlantic on a ship, on a train through the French countryside and ended up coaching foreign children that were living in a devastated city.
Ash Kellogg took the first airplane ride of his life, one that involved two emergency landings for repair before finally arriving at an American airbase in Japan. He served his country keeping airplanes in good repair.
Vinnie Dolan intended to sign on with the Marines, but the recruiter was out to lunch. He signed on with the USAF and made the military a career. He was stationed all over the world, including a tour in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
Zach Brombacher grew up playing soldier and became one. He is a heavily decorated war veteran that served two tours in the Middle East during his years in the Army.
Joan Marks is a mother, nurse, business woman and soldiers’ advocate. She began her career in the Army as a reservist and rose through the ranks. She retired as a US Army Colonel.
There are bridges and roads, buildings and scholarships all over the country that are named for our military heroes. In Old Forge the American Legion is named for two local veterans.
Sgt. Fred Pashley of Old Forge was acting as a flight engineer when his training flight went down in the Rocky Mountain area in 1945. His body was recovered the following year and was returned to Deerfield for burial.
William Covey of Big Moose was serving in the armed forces overseas in 1918 when he was struck down by Spanish influenza. He died in a French hospital and is buried at Le Havre American Cemetery in France. There is also a memorial bridge at Twitchell Lake named in his honor.
The American Legion is the largest US wartime veterans service organization. It is devoted to mentoring youth, advocating patriotism and supporting United States veterans.
In order to establish our country, and since its birth in the year 1776, there have been men and women willing to fight for our freedom. The dawn of a nation relied on brave souls that did the unthinkable; they fought the English monarchy, one of the super powers of that time, and won. They won for themselves, and for the generations that would follow them, and inspired others to continue to defend not only the United States, but freedom and humanity all over the world.
Twenty-six United States presidents have been veterans of the military; from George Washington, who served in the Continental Army during the Revolution to George W. Bush, who served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam era.
Since 1776 it is estimated that there have been close to 42.4 million US veterans. The numbers reflect men and women that have served their country, whether during war-time or peace-time and the numbers include Civil War veterans from both the Union and Confederacy. About a million and a half have been wounded and approximately 651,000 lost their lives in battle.
They have been soldiers on the ground in jungles, far from home, airmen flying over foreign lands and sailors navigating treacherous seas. They have been medical staff, engineers and infantry. They have protected this country selflessly on foreign and domestic soil and continue to do so today.
They are someone’s mother, father, son or daughter. They are somebody’s best friend, coworker and neighbor. They are, each and every one, a hero.
Thank you for your service, Veterans. We salute you.