Each year the nation honors all Veterans, living or deceased, who have served their country, whether in peacetime or wartime. In Marlborough a somber ceremony was held at the war memorial just down from the Middle School on Monday. Veterans Day ceremonies are held at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that marks the end of WW I on November 11, 1918.
After the traditional laying of the wreath, Pastor David Stein, of the Lattingtown Baptist Church, said the Book or Romans, “commands us to give honor where honor is due; and we gather here today to do just that.”
“Heavenly Father we thank you for this beautiful day that you have given us, to give honor to those men and women who have served their country.” he said. “Lord I also ask that events like this and the lives of the men and women of our country be an inspiration to the children so they might emulate those lifestyles of service; to God, community, family and country.”
Tom Schroeder, of the American Legion Vieby-Sutton Post 124, asked the Color Guard to advance their colors and stand near the memorial.
Supervisor Al Lanzetta acknowledged the sacrifice the men and women have made in service to the country.
“I also know that example of dedication often continues once a Veteran returns to his community,” he said, noting that the late NYS Sen. William Larkin never faltered in his commitment to public service after leaving the military, “It continued for the rest of his life.”
Lanzetta said Larkin’s example, “reminds us to continue to find ways to serve others. Veterans day is not a single day of the year. It is a continual reminder to care for our Veterans each and every day to make sure their needs are met and that they receive the benefits they have earned when they come home. Let us serve them as well as they have served the United States of America. God bless America and God bless Marlborough.”
Schroeder introduced WW II Veteran Bruno Ronkese, who served in the Asiatic-Pacific campaign, the Philippines and the occupation of Japan after their surrender.
“I guess I am part of the greatest generation and I was proud to serve my country. I want to thank everyone here today for honoring the Veterans; they’re great people and we have to honor them for what they’ve done. Thank you very much.”
Veteran Joe Freeborn recounted his war experiences in Vietnam 1971-72 in a recently published book, “Letters From Vietnam.” He said he wrote about his experiences, now nearly 50 years later, as a way to show the younger generation what that was was like for his generation.
“I felt I needed to tell the story because too many times we hear a Vietnam Veteran say I don’t want to talk about it or I don’t remember,” he said.
Freeborn also recalled childhood friend William Partington who was killed in action in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam on March 2, 1970 at the age of 21.
“I think it is about time that we as a community do something special to commemorate his memory, perhaps on Memorial Day,” Freeborn said. “I know where Billy Partington died, I was there and I know how horrible it must have been.”
Schroeder concluded the Veterans Day ceremony with a few observations.
“Historians have said that Dwight Eisenhower was prouder of being a soldier that he was of being President. And while fewer than relatively few Veterans reach the rank of General, pride in one’s military service is a bond shared by nearly all who have served,” he said. “Veterans have given us freedom, security and the greatest nation on earth. It is impossible to put a price on that. We must remember them, we must appreciate them.”
Taps was played to close the ceremony.