As Lucassen and Law reminisced about the demanding training and strict discipline of the U.S. military of old, Nick Shillinger, a representative of Freedom Team Salute, the group that recognized Lucassen, chimed in.
"It used to be 'Yes, sir' or 'No, sir,'" Shillinger said. "Now it's 'Why?'"
That's why ceremonies like the one in front of Smithsburg's Veterans Park memorial Monday are so important, Law said.
"Today's youth culture doesn't have a clue about what we did," he said.
Carlo Belella, 75, of Smithsburg, disagreed that the military has gotten more lenient.
"The military today is the best trained, best equipped and least selfish," Belella said. "They're all volunteers, just as many were in my time."
But that doesn't mean Belella's years in the Air Force were easy.
"I spent half of my 23 years away from my family in places not very pleasant, from the deserts of Africa to the jungles of Panama to the frozen north of Greenland and Labrador," Belella said.
At Monday's ceremony, Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Fred Shinbur said there were more than 460,000 veterans in Maryland, more than 13,000 of whom call Washington County home.
And current military servicemen and women are making sacrifices every day. About 90 Marylanders have died in the war on terrorism, Shinbur said.
No matter what changes time brings, Belella said he thought there would always be a need to recognize veterans.
"There will always be service people and there will always be those who sacrifice it all for all of us," he said.