WESTPORT, Conn. Veterans representing all branches of the military were joined by civilians Friday at Westport's Veterans Day ceremony in honoring the men and women who have served the United States
Many of the veterans in attendance, like retired Westport Police lieutenant and World War II veteran George Marks, Sr., dressed in full uniform for the event.
Marks, who served as a ship navigator in the Navy for five years, said Veterans Day is not only a time to honor and remember veterans, but to reflect.
"I'm glad I served," said Marks, of Westport. "And I wasn't drafted. I volunteered. Then I joined the police department, where I worked 28 years."
For Sue Henry, a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Post 399 of the Veterans of Foriegn Wars post, Veterans Day has a special meaning. Although she herself did not serve in the military, Henry said she is an active military volunteer and comes from a military family.
"My great-grandfather, grandfather, father, brothers and husband have all served," she said. "And I have a nephew who's in Iraq, so it gives me a wholeness to pay my respects to the soldiers of our armed forces and to thank them for all they've done for us."
The ceremony, led by Westport Veterans Council President William Vornkahl, included a medley of patriotic music played by the town band, remarks by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff, Staples High School senior Taylor McNair, the playing of "Taps" and plenty of pride.
McNair, a leader of the Staples boys soccer team, thanked all veterans during his address for being "heroic, yet humble", but dedicated his speech to fallen soldier Nick Madaras of Wilton. Madaras was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2007.
Near the close of the 45-minute ceremony, veterans stood and were recognized as the band played "Armed Forces Salute." Vornkahl ended the event with a reading of the soldier's poem, which he reads every year.
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech," Vornkahl read. "It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given his blood, his body, his life, who has given us these freedoms."
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