By Keith Gushard
They are stories that need to be told, according to area veterans.
“People don’t understand what goes on and the sacrifices made — in peacetime or war,” John Amato of Meadville said of why he’s one of more than a dozen veterans speaking at next month’s “Through a Veteran’s Eye: A Salute” observance in Meadville.
Amato was among the several upcoming speakers on hand Wednesday at a media day at Active Aging Inc.’s senior citizens center in Meadville. Active Aging, the agency that oversees the county’s senior citizens centers, hosts the observance Nov. 7 through 9 at the Meadville Senior Center.
Amato served 28 years in the U.S. Air Force and was a chief master sergeant — the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. Amato was involved both in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He’ll discuss the contributions of the Reserve and Guard components in the two conflicts.
“Maj. Rob Golenberke, my commanding officer, got a message from our colonel when going home (from Iraq) — ‘Tell our story,’” Amato said.
David Miller, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II who lives in Saegertown, said he’s speaking because it’s important for people to know what it took to take the fight to the enemy.
Miller served as a diesel mechanic aboard an LSM or landing ship medium. That type of ship moved supplies from big transports to the beaches — whether it was vehicles, food, fuel, ammunition or anything else needed to keep an army on the move and in the fight.
“For every one person at the front fighting, there were 10 people behind him getting food and supplies to him,” Miller said. “If we did not have people bringing in supplies, we’d have never made it.”
Arden Earll, who was a U.S. Army staff sergeant in World War II, will speak about what it was like to be in the third wave of troops who landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy — hitting the beach at 7 a.m. under withering fire.
“We got the hell beat right out of us,” Earll said of the early portion of the landing. “It was the fortitude and determination of our troops that carried the day. We knew what had to be done.”
This year marks the 15th annual salute to area veterans. In addition to the speakers during the event, there will be entertainment, museum quality displays and demonstrations and many vintage vehicles on display.
You can go
“Through a Veteran’s Eye: A Salute” is Nov. 7 through 9 at Active Aging Inc., 1034 Park Ave., Meadville. All events are free and open to the public. More information: Call 336-1792 or (800) 321-7705.