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OUR NEIGHBORS: Veterans' advocate takes pride in country

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Denny Picconatto remembers when “veteran” was a dirty word.

It was the 1970s, and Picconatto, a native of Gary-New Duluth and a Vietnam-era veteran, was trying to find a local watering hole near his duty station at Fort Sill, Okla.

And he couldn’t find one that would let him in.

“It was Oklahoma, and they wouldn’t let a soldier in uniform go into a bar,” Picconatto remembers. “I thought that was about as bad as it could get.”

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