RYE, N.Y. -- Rye veterans, leaders and community members gathered in the Village Green on Monday for a ceremony honoring the men and women who have served their country in the armed forces.
Among those who spoke were American Legion Post 128 Commander Tom Saunders, Mayor Doug French, Assemblyman Steve Otis, Sen. George Latimer and author and CBS News correspondent Lee Woodruff. Rev. Joseph Lim, a priest at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye and a retired Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force, led the invocation.
"We ask your blessing upon all of our veterans for their courage to face the horror of war so we all can cherish the freedoms we now enjoy," Lim said. "Bless them for their resolve to fight the forces of evil, to vanquish the oppressor and to liberate the oppressed."
Latimer was reminded of the end of the movie "Saving Private Ryan," when a World War II veteran turns to his wife and asks, "Am I a good man?"
"Gentlemen, you are good men," Latimer said to the gathered veterans. "You took a risk for all of us. You left this beautiful town, where everything was nice and peaceful, and you put your lives at risk, every single on of you, in some way, shape or form, in whatever conflict was there, and you did it for love of country, you did it as a commitment."
Woodruff's husband Bob was injured while covering a story in Iraq in 2006. After he recovered, the two established the Bob Woodruff Foundation to help injured veterans. They recently held an event which raised more than $5.1 million for veterans. Woodruff said that thanking a veteran does not really do enough to help them.
"We have such a chance to do more than simply thank them for their service. We have the chance to put our thoughts and words into action," she said.
She encouraged people to donate to charities, but to also do their research on where they are donating. She said that medical advances have allowed veterans to survive their injuries, but they are still not getting enough support when they go home. She said the unemployment rate of young veterans is almost three times that of civilians.
"They are so suited to go to work. They understand the value of following orders. They're inventive, they're resourceful, they're exactly the kind of people we should be hiring," she said. "And so for all of us who have businesses here in Rye or this county and are able to hire somebody, look for a veteran. You couldn't find a better person to be in your employment."
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