"Ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. Simply put, that's who veterans are," Jim Rhinehart said Wednesday Nov. 11 to a crowd of local military veterans gathered at American Legion Post 239 in Skaneateles.
Rhinehart, a member of the Sons of the American Legion and Onondaga County Legislator for District 6, spoke to the group during the post's annual soup and sandwich dinner to celebrate Veterans Day.
The Legion's Ladies Auxiliary President Angie Gregory works all year to plan the dinner. She said it all started about five years ago because she wanted to do something for the veterans other than a flag ceremony where they would all stand out in the cold.
"I decided to start a soup and sandwich supper," she said. "We try to serve everybody ... I just wanted to recognize the veterans, which hasn't been done a lot in this post."
This year, the crowd grew to about 55 veterans, Sons of the American Legion, auxiliary members and family members. In the past, Gregory said there have usually been between 60 and 65 members join together for dinner.
"It's fun. It gets the guys together," Gregory said.
Along with homemade soup and sandwiches, there is also dessert. Veteran Charlie Tanner bought a large sheet cake decorated for the occasion. Gregory said Tanner purchases and donates the cake in memory of his father, Charles Henry "Ginger" Tanner.
Post Commander Kurt Reilley thanked Gregory and the auxiliary members for sponsoring the dinner. He then went on to say that something different had been asked of him that evening -- to have veterans from past wars or conflicts be recognized. For each war or conflict Reilley called out, veterans raised their hands, beginning with World War II.
There were only two WWII veterans in attendance -- John Manilla and Richard Faulkner.