Veterans tell their stories in Kingston

Mary “Edie” Meeks while serving in Vietnam.

World War II veterans who survived the Battle of Bataan and ground combat in Normandy all the way up to those who served during the Iraqi conflict will share their stories of courage and sacrifice on Saturday, Nov. 3 during a daylong event at the Best Western Plus.

The God and Country Veterans Living History Event, sponsored by the nonprofit Veterans Honored For His Glory, will feature about a dozen speakers, including former Congressman Chris Gibson, a retired Army colonel, who will deliver the keynote address at the dinner finale from 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

As part of the event, the veterans will interact with students at Saugerties High School on Nov. 2 during a morning program. They will then be treated to a luncheon at Woodstock Harley Davidson and later tour the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor.

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On Saturday morning, Woodstock Harley Davidson will be hosting an organized ride of up to 30 motorcyclists to the Best Western Plus as a way to pay tribute to the guest veterans. 

Oscar Leonard, 99, a former Army intelligence analyst and Bataan survivor with the 28th Bomb Squadron, will be among the headliners.

Retired Army Col. Ed Shames, another World War II veteran who will be a guest speaker, parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and was involved in some of the war’s most epic battles, including Operation Market Garden and the Battle of Bastogne.

The 96-year-old Virginia resident is the last surviving officer of Easy Company, the legendary “Band of Brothers,” which inspired a book and HBO miniseries.

Other speakers at the Saturday event, being held from 8:15 a.m.-3:45 p.m., include retired Navy veteran Richard Dick Donald, who was involved in seven Pacific invasions during World War II and also served aboard a destroyer during the Korean War; Marine veteran Duayne Trowbridge, who survived a fierce mortar attack in Korea; Vietnam veterans Frank Romeo, Mary “Edie” Meeks and Joseph Giannini; and Iraqi War veterans Christopher Wade and Chris Gibson.

Tickets for the God and Country Veterans Living History Event are $25 for adults or $30 at the door; $20 for veterans or $25 at the door and $15 for students. Tickets for the dinner are $40. For more information or to get tickets in advance, call (845) 629-2864 or go to www.godandcountryny.com.

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