Local veterans reflect on Veterans Day

One veteran said: “It’s not about 'I' it’s about 'we'”

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – “We’re brothers to the end.” It was a somber mood at the Holyoke Soldiers Home on Thursday, as veterans gathered to celebrate the Marine Corps 241st birthday, and to reflect on Veterans Day.

John S. Rutovich, who served from 1959 to 1968, told 22News, “All veterans, whether peace time or war time, all the branches in the service for what they’ve done for their country.”

Some Vietnam-era veterans are still haunted by painful memories of being rejected after the war. “I started walking thru the terminal and I was getting nothing but dirty looks, dirty looks and that’s something that sticks with me. I’ll never, never, forget it. Never,” said Stanley Lachtara, who served from 1964 to 1970.

A South Hadley Vietnam veteran told 22News he shared everything with his brothers, while in combat. He said they shared goodie packages from back home, ammunition, water and they even shared and shed blood together.

Lachtara said, “One thing that was installed in us at boot camp is that it’s not about ‘I’ it’s about ‘we.’”

Veterans Day is a day for us to say thank you to our service men and women.

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