WESTPORT, Conn. – The Westport community gathered in Town Hall on Tuesday to pay tribute to the men and women of the armed forces in a special Veterans Day celebration.
“We are most fortunate that we are able to take this opportunity to focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day, a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good,” said Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe.
The program was led by Master of Ceremonies William Vornkahl, president of the Westport Veterans Council. The event featured several musical performances and salutes by the Westport Community Band, led by conductors Sal LaRusso and Susan Schaefer. The Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton of the Saugatuck Congregational Church led the assembly in the invocation and benediction to open and close the ceremony.
Marpe said that it was fitting that Veterans Day comes so soon after Election Day, as the right to vote was one of the most important rights Americans have, and one which they have been granted because of the country’s veterans.
“We do not take lightly the fact that many in this room suffered and sacrificed to ensure that right. Thank you for that service. Our veterans’ unselfish service should never be forgotten or diminished through time. I encourage all of us to support the efforts to preserve their history of bravery, courage and sacrifice,” he said.
A ceremonial wreath was placed by members of the VFW and American Legion, and members of the Westport Police Department fired off a salute, accompanied by “Taps” played by Staples High School students Samantha Atlas and Emily Burke.
Staples High School senior Kevin Watt delivered an address to the crowd. He spoke about studying battles such as the invasion of Normandy in school, and the impact that seeing the battlefields had on him. He said that he is grateful to veterans for fighting for rights that many take for granted.
“The mettle required to wage such a bloody endeavor so far removed from home, the mettle required to act not of self-interest but the interest of your country, is humbling. It makes me question whether I can do the same,” Watt said. “The character of the men and women, some of whom were as old as I am today, who fought and served for our country is truly incomprehensible.”
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