As old soldiers read the names of those who left
The names, said clearly and carefully, one by one, echoed through the historic, slightly tattered auditorium at
“The greatest honor you can give our veterans is to remember them,” said Lori DeFillippi, a former Marine who hosted the annual gathering.
With every passing year, there are fewer who can remember the young men who headed off to battle and vanished forever in the jungles of Vietnam, the snowy mountains of Korea, the blasted beaches of Pacific atolls, the hedgerows of Normandy and scores of other bloody locales whose names cascade through time.
Since the doughboys answered their country’s call in 1917, 232 men from
They never got the chance to swap war stories at the American Legion, to see children and grandchildren grow, to watch the passing of time as daffodils danced in the spring and the leaves fell in the fall.
But they made it possible for their community -- and their nation -- to carry on in freedom and prosperity, as speakers emphasized.
“I’ve never seen veterans treated so well and with such respect as in
Masiero-Carter, the keynote speaker, said that after joining the Army in 2006, she worked in a military hospital helping burn victims who had returned from the
Seeing what they go through, she said, taught her that no matter how bad a day she has, it could be worse.
The ceremony featured students from
A troupe from Reach for the Stars Academy of Dance performed to a sad song about a veteran found by Santa Claus sleeping on the floor of a small apartment. It got a standing ovation from the 200 people attending.
Veterans got recognition, too, as they stood with others from their branch of the service. About 80 got to their feet as former members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force.
“It made me cry a little,” said Nancy Santino, a-15-year-old from
Veterans should get what they deserve
Mayor Art Ward told a crowd gathered for the city’s annual Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday that it was “very sobering” for him to read on the front page that morning how the U.S. Veterans Administration was failing some veterans.
Other news stories that talked about homeless veterans and the struggle to come to grips with the consequences of the Agent Orange sprayed in
“That is just wrong,” said Ward, who served in the U.S. Marines in
The host of the city’s Veterans Day ceremony, Lori DeFillippi, who also served in the Marines, said, “Sometimes a veteran’s biggest battle is when he comes home and has to fight his own government.”
Ward said that for veterans “service is never over. It is always with us.”
But when the troops return to their communities, he said, the nation should follow through on its promises to the men and women it sent into harm’s way.
“It’s the country’s responsibility to honor its commitments to its veterans,” Ward said.
They shouldn’t have to keep fighting daily “to get the services and the benefits that they have truly, truly earned,” the mayor said.
All too often, Ward said, veterans return home only to find they still have to “stand up and fight” to get their due from the country they served.
Ward said people should read the stories in the papers and let them sink in.
Then, he said, they need to call their congressmen, pigeonhole their state lawmakers and tell those in power to make sure veterans are not ignored.
“There’s this voice out there that has to be heard -- and we’re bringing that forward,” the mayor said.
Contact Steve Collins at email@example.com