Millions visit Veterans Memorial at NYSF
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NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- The names of men and women who have fought for our country, like World War II vet Ed Zaluski, are etched in bricks lining the Veterans Memorial at the New York State Fairgrounds.
"As soon as I got 18, I went in and joined the Air Force and so I got on the big bombers and people said I was crazy, 'you're not going to live very long' and I said 'I don't care. I'm going to try it,'" Zaluski said.
Making sure the sacrifices military members make are acknowledged was a lifetime goal of Tony Nesci Sr. He founded the Eagle Association of CNY, a not-for-profit to support
veterans and co-founded the Veteran Memorial at the fairgrounds. Thursday, Nesci was honored.
"Tony passed away last year and this is our chance to say thank you to him for all that he's done," said Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci.
"An accomplishment for my husband that I wish he was here to see."
And over the years, this memorial that Nesci is credited with creating has become hallowed ground. A place where millions visit and during the fair, it gives the military an opportunity to introduce a new generation to the armed services.
"We're showing them the equipment, what we do, how we do it and it's a really great way to pass on the legacy," said New York Army National Guard Major Joseph Merrill.
A legacy also shared through combat stories told by vets of every age.
Merrill said, "You get a bit of shared experience. You see how much things have changed, but how much they've sort of stayed the same. So it's really neat and you also hear stories of how it was."
A legacy that is passed through generations, like agriculture, which drives the New York State Fair.