In going door to door and attending community events, it is my continuing honor to be able to connect with military veterans.  World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan all have demanded much from the men and women who defend our nation.  So whenever I have the chance to meet and talk to a veteran, I welcome them home and thank them for their service.

At a recent Fireman’s Parade in Strykersville, I saw a woman dressed in an unusual uniform who particularly caught my eye.  She was wearing khaki green wool from head to toe, a wool hat on her head and white dress gloves covering her hands.  Her black boots were spit and polish shined and she wore a small gold service pin on her uniform pocket.

Respectfully, I approached and struck up a conversation.  She said her name was Annette.  She was 70 plus years of age and had lived in Strykersville most all of her life, other than the years she spend in military service in California.  Her speciality was high level intelligence operations, a field she loved and continued even after her military career came to an honorable conclusion.

Annette and I ended up chatting several times that evening as we made our way through the parade grounds and into the fireman’s carnival.  She patiently answered my questions about her service career, defering to a nearby friend to extol her virtues.  However when I asked about her family, Annette spoke reverentially about her mother—her beauty, her sense of style and her great ability to engage people—all the while proudly enduring her wool military uniform, complete with hat and gloves, on an incredibly hot and humid summer’s night.

As I stood next to this petite and obviously dedicated veteran, I commented that I thought she had inherited many of her mother’s positive character traits,  To which she embarrassedly but firmly disagreed that she was but a shadow of her mom.

Time and again I find that veterans who have given of their lives to defend our nation see themselves in very understated terms.  They deserve so much and ask for so little…which is why  why I will work tirelessly for the continued care of veterans, like Annette, in the NYState Assembly