Story by Kristina Hoti
On a chilly, sunny Veterans Day morning, members of the American Legion Post #1250, the Auxiliary, Cub Scout Pack 44, local officials, and members of the community gathered in Florida at the Veterans Memorial on Main St. at 11 a.m. this Sun., Nov. 11.
The ceremony, led by Fray Fuller, began with a prayer by the Legion Chaplain promptly at 11 a.m., this time paying homage to the traditional beginnings of this day of observance. The very first “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1918, marked the official end to World War I as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
As Bob Scott, 3rd Officer of Legion noted, WWI was known as “The War to End All Wars,” as this was optimistically thought at the time to be the case. On this very special Veterans Day, it was observed by Scott, that this year marks the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI.
After the opening prayer, Cub Scout Pack 44 led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Sponsored by the Legion, Pack 44 is comprised of Golden Hill Elementary students. Fray Fuller read a passage, reflecting on the meaning of military service, and the idea that “our cause does not end with our military service,” and the philosophy that it is a lifetime of dedication to community, and to putting the betterment of all above the opinions of the individual.
Beth Fuller, of the Auxiliary, spoke next, followed by 1st Officer and Deputy Mayor of Florida, Tom Fuller. Nancy Scott, of the Auxiliary also spoke, providing the history of Veterans Day, having started out as a day to honor those who died in service, and eventually becoming a day to honor all veterans, both the living and those lost in the line of duty.
Bob Scott was the final speaker to represent the Legion. After a moving passage describing what it means to serve our country, including the idea that military service can be described as, “voluntary obedience to the decisions of the majority,” Scott commented on the WWI anniversary, noting that this year also marks the 100th anniversary of the American Legion. He invited all veterans in attendance to join the members of the legion.
“I think there are some of you out there. Please come join us, stand up here and be honored, whether you are a member of the Legion or not,” said Scott.
Slowly, men from the gathered group made their way forward and took the places they deserved. In conclusion, Paul Ruszkiewicz, County Legislator spoke, thanking the veterans for their service and the group assembled for their presence and support. The service ended with the gift of a beautiful soprano rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, given by Allyson Frank, which rang clear and true. Artwork by fourth and fifth grade students was on display in the Legion, entitled, “What Veterans Day Means to Me,” along with refreshments, to follow the service.