Fifth and sixth graders at Granby Elementary School in Fulton got the chance to meet and ask questions to several current and former service members Monday morning, during the school's "Take a Vet to School Day" event. Members of the Army and Navy gave students a look into their lives in the military, including what they did overseas, where they've been stationed, and in one case, what their favorite gun is to shoot.
Syracuse-area representative Dan Maffei also spoke with the kids about his job in Washington D.C., where he serves on the House Armed Services Committee. The Democrat says he hopes they gain some knowledge about those defending the nation's freedoms.
"They should appreciate and honor those who do sacrifice, and their families, in their own careers and put their lives on the line to defend all of us," Maffei said. "That this is a country where we are free, but there is a price for that and the men and women who serve in our armed forces are sacrificing to defend us."
He also says more needs to be done to help raise awareness for the nation's veterans.
"George Washington said that whether or not we can recruit the people needed to defend the country is essentially based on how we treat our nation's veterans," Maffei said. "And we need to do a better job, frankly, of doing that. The added awareness in the last couple of decades has been helpful, but even today we're still having many veterans go without services that they need, and that's a problem."
The "Take a Vet to School" program was started in 2007 and connects students with veterans from all walks of life. Thousands of schools nationwide take part in the program.