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Veterans honored at Putnam County ceremony

WINFIELD -- When he was a kid, on rainy days, Dan Chandler would sort through his father's box of photographs from his army days.

The inspiration set the course of his life.

After he turned 18, he enlisted in the Air Force. Between active duty and stints in the Air National Guard, he spent 10 years in the service, compiling 39 military ribbons.

Chandler was honored Sunday in Putnam County, at the county's annual celebration to honor veterans.

"I'm not a hero," he said. "All the medals I received were for being in the wrong place at the right time."

This is the 5th year the County has had this ceremony -- what it calls Veteran's Appreciation Day -- in Winfield. Veterans Day is next Sunday.

The Putnam event has grown each year, and County Commissioner Joe Haynes said he hopes it comes to be seen as a fixture in the community.

Haynes grew teary-eyed at the podium Sunday afternoon as he honored World War II veterans, calling the soldiers who fought in that war and the civilians who supported them "America's greatest generation."

"I thought I'd be better this year," he said. "But I cry every time"

More than 50 people turned out to the event, toting lawn chairs and flags. A number of those chairs were filled with veterans of any number of wars, but still more were filled by their friends and family, civilians, children -- a fact that warmed the heart of at least one veteran.

 "These people right here are the backbone of this country," he said. "But so many people aren't aware. To see all those young people ties it all together."

The young people on hand included the St. Albans High School Junior ROTC, and live music from the high school band. But the older set was well represented by the American Legion, VFW and Marine Corps League.

"These men are fading into the sunset, some of them." Chandler said. "We've got to pay attention to them." 

Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.maunz@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.


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