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The annual Veterans Day Ceremony at Newtown’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 308 took place on Saturday, November 11, at 11 am.
Dedicated members of the community gathered outside the VFW on Freedom Defenders Way (formerly known as 18 Tinkerfield Road) to brace the freezing temperatures in order to pay their respects for all who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
VFW member and Navy veteran Michael Mich led the ceremony by thanking those that attended and said, “Today we gather to honor the men and women who have worn the uniform, made personal sacrifice, and served our nation’s military.”
As the crowd joined him in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, those who served stood saluting the flag and others kept their hands respectfully over their hearts.
VFW Post 308 Chaplain Clayton Friedberg then recited what he called the official prayer of the VFW for Veterans Day, which read:
“Almighty God, Father of us all. We were servants turned to you for continuance of your blessings upon us. You who have spared us, veterans from the grasp of our enemies, grant us the full understanding of your precious comfort. We thank you for the privilege of life and the blessings we enjoy through your graciousness. In our comfort, the land in which we are given freedom of speech, religion, and the pursuit of happiness, assist us to know you better and the wisdom to acknowledge you as the God of the universe and our ideals. Amen.”
Mr Mich followed the prayer by narrating the ceremonial presentation of the wreath and laying of carnations before the veterans’ memorial stone.
“In so doing, we offer solemn tribute wherever they may rest,” Mr Mich said.
VFW Commander Ray Wisniewski placed the wreath, as a symbol of remembrance, while members from the audience approached the memorial stone to place a red, white, and blue carnation.
Taps were played and Mr Mich closed the ceremony with a quote from former President Ronald Reagan, “Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference in the world. Our veterans don’t have that problem.”
After the nearly ten-minute ceremony, Mr Mich spoke with The Newtown Bee and indicated that the ceremony was intentionally shorter than usual due to a number of factors.
“We cut it short as we were forecasted in single-digit wind chills,” Mr Mich said. “We [also] were unable to get anyone to be a guest speaker.”
He added, “It’s never been a real long ceremony… but we focused on the right thing. We focused our ceremony on veterans, not speeches.”