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November 11, 2013

 

Vet’s devotion runs deep

American Legion vice commander says troops need support

VetJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Vietnam veteran Fred Lindley poses on Saturday at his Cortland home with a minuteman still life he painted in 1976 and his enlistment portrait.

By TYRONE L. HEPPARD
Staff Reporter
theppard@cortlandstandardnews.net

Standing in front of the house at 17 E. Garfield St., it is apparent that someone who supports the U.S. military lives there as the morning breeze tugged the American and POW-MIA flags atop a pole on the lawn.
But it is only when you step inside Vietnam War veteran Fred Lindley’s home that you get a sense of how much his military service has remained a part of his life.
On Saturday morning, Lindley was getting ready to attend a veterans’ luncheon, so he was dressed in his Army uniform; his service medals displayed proudly.
Behind him, patriotic paintings Lindley made himself dotted the walls of his living room beside the portraits of family members who served their country.
Born and raised in Cortland, Lindley served two campaigns, or a full year, as a clerk with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Camp Evans in the Phubai/Quang-Tri area in 1970 and 1971.
“I had to take care of all the paperwork,” Lindley said. “One of my duties was to take care of the morning reports ... just kind of keeping track of who was where. I had to type the letters home, that was the hardest.”
Lindley said making the decision to join the Army was an easy one, seeing as how serving is a family tradition. He is the second youngest of five brothers, all of whom have served in four out of five branches of the military, the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
In fact, it would not to be too far off to say military service is in Lindley’s blood; Lindley said a member of his family has been a part of every armed conflict since the Civil War.
As do most Americans, Lindley said he has a great deal of respect and admiration for people willing to give their all, and joining the Army — as his father did before him — has given him much more than just the sense of pride that comes from serving your country.
“It helps to build the person,” Lindley said. “It helps young men and women appreciate ... what they do have; to get a better appreciation of what people before you have done.”
Today, Lindley is the first vice commander of the American Legion Post 489 in Cortland where his work consists of working with children and youth in the community and coordinating events; teaching kids about American history and letting people know the legion is active in the community and here to support veterans and their families.
“That’s what we want to stress,” Lindley said. “It’s (the Legion) not just a building with a bunch of guys sitting around. We’re trying to get the younger people involved to help maintain these programs. We all work basically for the same thing.”
He added that if there is one thing he wants anyone to consider on this Veterans Day, it’s that every soldier — no matter if they support the war or not — deserves support and people should be grateful for their service and what many have lost their lives to protect.
“Appreciate what you have,” Lindley said. A lot of men and women have fought and died for it through the centuries.”

 

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