Story by Lourice Angie
Veterans of the Warwick VFW Post 4662, the American Legion Post 214, and their Auxiliary, local officials and dignitaries, and members of the community assembled at the Warwick Fire Station #1 on Sat., Nov. 11 for a parade and a commemorative ceremony in Veterans Memorial Park.
Commander Dan Burger of the Warwick VFW Post 4662 led the parade down Forester Ave. to Veterans Memorial Park on the sunny and brisk morning. Members of the Warwick Police and Fire Departments safely blocked off the roads as a large group of people applauded, cheered and thanked their local heroes.
“Armistice Day,” as it was originally referred to, reflected upon the heroism of those who died in the country’s service. It was celebrated on Nov. 11, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. In 1954 the holiday was changed by Congress to Veterans Day to acknowledge all Americans who served during all wars.
In Warwick, it has become a tradition to honor local service men and women and fallen heroes throughout the year. Commander Burger thanked everyone who attended on such a cold morning. He asked everyone to join in the Pledge of Allegiance. He then took a moment to speak to the youth. He explained the importance of understanding the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but recognizing the significance of each.
“The support of American Veterans is very important. I have been asked questions and many of us have been asked on how is best to do so. Is it appropriate to say to a Veteran, thank you for your service? Yes it is. There’s no world that I can imagine where it’s not appropriate to thank a Veteran for their service. It’s very important to acknowledge Veterans and realize that we are members of the community. It’s not a separate entity. Veterans are a part of the community and the community is a part of Veterans lives,” said Commander Burger.
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton said, “They served because the service was necessary to preserve the freedoms of this nation. As we gather on Veterans Day we need to ensure we never forget that sacrifice, and that we honor their devotion to this great country and provide whatever is necessary to heal any wounds they have carried home. Our grateful Town says thank you and may God bless all of you!”
Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard also shared a few special words saying, “Thank you for your ongoing efforts to heighten awareness and recognize those who have served. These actions have had a ripple effect on our community. Above all and most important we thank for your service and allegiance to our country. It is this demonstration of patriotism and responsibility that as a citizen makes me so very grateful and so very proud thank you.”
Warwick Town Justice Peter Barlet spoke to all the young people in the crowd and said, “It is important that you understand what is happening with our government. The process begins from the earliest age. I thank you for being here today to participate in a program which hopefully will make you the type of citizen like all those Veterans who have served their country that provided you that opportunity.”
Walter Parkinson of the Warwick American Legion concluded the ceremony speeches. He said, “We honor all Veterans today but we should pay particular attention to those for whose this remembrance was created. I would suggest in honor of WWI Veterans people read some of the great poems of that war written by Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Rupert Brooke, and Wilfred Owen among others. Perhaps then we will get a better understanding of what WWI was like and the sacrifices that the men made.”
Raffle Winners Announced
The celebration continued at the Warwick Fire Station #1 on Church St., where hot dogs and beverages were served. Commander Burger announced the winners of the Veterans Day raffle. The first prize worth $300 went to Peggy LaRusso, second prize worth $200 went to Lizzie Schaefer and the 3rd prize of $100 was awarded to a raffle ticket with the name Stephanie on it. Some of the proceeds raised by the raffle will help benefit the new VFW Post 4662 location on Colonial Ave.
The Warwick VFW Post 4662 encourages anyone in the community that is a Veteran or knows a Veteran and might need help or camaraderie to refer them to the Warwick VFW or the American Legion by calling VFW Post 4662 at 986-4662 or the American Legion Post 214 at 986-1290.
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