Men and women who served our country during wartime were honored guests at the West Springfield Senior Center on Thursday.
The senior center honors luncheon was just the first of several salutes being held leading up to Veterans Day on November 11.
Eighty-seven-year-old Korean War veteran Larry DelGrego told 22News that it sends shivers down his spine every time someone tells him “Thank you for your service.”
Vietnam veterans from West Springfield compare these accolades with the ugly reception they had to swallow when they first came home.
“It’s about time,” Vietnam veteran Stephen Zielinski said. “It’s good to see that people are finally starting to recognize the veterans and how we served our country, which we’re very proud of.”
Fellow veteran Mitch Salamon remarked that it’s “Very impressive, I wear this [Vietnam veteran] hat. I can be in any state, whatsoever and people will reach out to me and say ‘thank you for your service.'”
For years, the West Springfield Council on Aging has set one day aside during early November to honor the veterans from their town.
COA Executive Director Laurie Cassidy told 22News that this is “Because we should never forget our veterans and we want to remember them each and every year at this special time and to give them homage for all they’ve done.”
Hundreds of American flag courtesy of the West Springfield Lions Club cover the town common. It’s in preparation for a series of Veterans Day events, beginning as early as Saturday with a parade to the veterans monuments on the town common.