32 NJ vets receive state medals for military service

"There's a reason for the military, and there's a reason why people like myself served in uniform."

David Madden
July 13, 2018 - 1:39 pm
Marshall Baker is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

David Madden/KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

VINELAND, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — The state of New Jersey awarded 32 residents of a veterans nursing home in Vineland medals for their services in wars between World War II and the Iraq conflict.

Many of those getting the Distinguished Service Medal say they only found out about it in the last couple of days. For a few recipients who had passed away before the ceremony, loved ones stood in to accept the honor.

Marshall Baker lived in Cherry Hill before moving here for health reasons. A veteran of the Vietnam War, he remembers how badly he was treated then and how that's changed over time.

"It's good to know that people are getting educated," Baker said. "There's a reason for the military, and there's a reason why people like myself served in uniform."

And it's good to be appreciated, he said — better late than never.

New Jersey's Distinguished Service Medal
David Madden/KYW Newsradio

New Jersey established this medal before the Civil War, but it wasn't used much until the late '80s under the Kean administration.

Chuck Robbins, outreach coordinator for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said, "I think it's because of the war on terror that the attitude of our nation has changed, and they recognize they were wrong in the way the Vietnam veterans were treated."

Since the award was revived, more than 30,000 veterans have been honored.