Saturday marked Armed Forces Appreciation Day at Thompson Park

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There weren’t lines of people on Washington Street in Watertown or a marching band marking time. COVID-19 may have prevented the usual celebration, but the message didn’t change.

“This is just basically a static display that still pays tribute in a quiet way. Anyone’s welcome to come up and acknowledge all the men and women in the armed forces and how appreciative we are of them,” said Nancy Datoush, the Administriave Assistant of Advocate Drum.

A few veterans came to celebrate those serving today. Veterans young and old.

For veteran Teeonka Bryant, it was about honoring something she holds close to her heart: her second family.

“To appreciate the people before me, the people after me, and myself,” said Bryant.

Someone who came before her, Darwin Danks, a Korean War veteran, also came to support today’s troops.

“I was drafted when I was 20 years old, I was the youngest sergeant drafted in the army during the Korean War,” said Danks.

Like the rest of the country, the North Country has a lot of men and women in uniform to commemorate. Since its reactivation in 1985 at Fort Drum, the 10th Mountain Division has become the most deployed unit in the U.S. army.

“Today is just another day to formally recognize all that they do for our community and for our nation,” said former Watertown Mayor Joe Butler.

And that’s why people like Darwin continues to honor, because he knows the sacrifices members today are making.

“You remember some of the old friends that you’ve had that have gone before you, and sometimes you wonder, you think about it. You get kind of sentimental about it sometimes,” said Darwin.

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