This is the last article leading up to Memorial Day, from the Albert Gordon American Legion Post 56 introducing some of their members, and letting them relate to you just what Memorial Day means to them.
Joe Ruttar is the Commander of Post 56 in Jefferson. He graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis MD., in 1976.
After graduation, he completed his training at the Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando FL., and the D1G Nuclear Prototype in Ballston Spa N.Y. He served as the Machinery Division and the Repair Division Officer and the Main Propulsion Assistant on the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser USS Virginia CGN-38.
After leaving the service, he worked at three nuclear power plants in Waterford CT, Kewaunee WI and Welch MN. He served as a Shift Manager, Operations Manager and Assistant Plant Manager.
“As we all know, Memorial Day is the day that we honor all of the men and women who lost their lives in service to their country," Ruttar said. "At times, we tend to think of those who lost their lives fighting in the various battles and wars throughout our country’s history. However, I try to not overlook those who died under non-conflict circumstances as well. Our nation’s military is the finest in the world and at its core are the elite men and women trained for combat. But also, there are many who also serve in the background, keeping the soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines supplied and informed. Many times, you may hear of a helicopter accident, or a collision at sea, or a fire on a military base where some of our servicemen and women perished. Yes, they too, unselfishly gave up their lives supporting the larger whole.”
Ruttar reminds everyone to "Remember, Memorial Day is a day to honor those men and women of the Armed Services who gave their lives in service to their country. To help put that in perspective, here is the final snapshot of the number of veterans lost in all of our country’s wars."
•Persian Gulf War (1990 to 1991) 841 casualties
•War in Afghanistan (2001 to present) 2,420 casualties
•Iraqi War (2003 to 2011) 4,576 casualties
Ruttar says, "Come and honor our fallen heroes by coming to the American Legion Post 56 at 309 Lee St., Jefferson, Memorial Day Event on Memorial Day May 31 at 10 a.m.