Toll for vets irks Saugertiesian

Bill Bitner of Kingston American Legion Post 150 plays taps. Behind him is a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, which was on display in Saugerties from July 19-22

You and I are not always happy to pay for government services, but when that hand reaches out of the Thruway booth we usually dutifully hand over a ticket and some currency. But should everyone have to? Who should be the exceptions?

Saugerties resident Paul Fowler thinks the honor- guard motorcade that drove on the Thruway on July 18 between New Baltimore and Kingston on their way to the movable memorial wall in Saugerties listing the names of the more than 58,000 Americans killed during the Vietnam War should have been among the exceptions.


“I’m very upset,” said Fowler late last week. “They fought for us. We should honor them.”

Fowler reported that congressman John Faso had called to tell Fowler that he agreed with him.

Fowler claimed he contacted the governor’s office several times. He said the governor’s office, which had excused other groups from paying tolls, hadn’t responded. He also talked to a woman named Joan at the Thruway Authority, he said, but couldn’t provide further details.

Fowler estimated that the motorcycle honor guard on the Thruway celebrating the arrival of the traveling replica of the five-eighths scale Vietnam wall was two miles long. That’s a long line at any Thruway exit.

State senator James Seward issued a column about the resources provide veterans in this year’s session of the state legislature. Many of these bills provided additional specialized assistance for veterans. One of these of regional interest provided $200,000 to the Legal Services of the Hudson Valley’s veterans and military families advocacy project.