The clear blue skies and mild temperature welcomed the nearly 100 supporters who came to pay their respect to America’s heroes: veterans of war.
On Monday, Nov. 11, the crowd gathered on South Church Street at the monument erected to honor those who served in the armed forces —many making the ultimate sacrifice — in World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf War.
Jim Heslop, Commander of the Goshen American Post 377, acted as adjutant. The Rev. Carl Lunden, Rector of St. James Episcopal Church, delivered the blessings.
The impressive color guard, led by Commander Ray Quattrini, Commander of Goshen Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1708, led off the ceremony at the historic time of 11:00 a.m. The peace-agreement, bringing World War I to an end, was signed on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., hence the ceremony is carried out on 11/11 at 11:00.
Lauren Luck followed with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” and later she concluded the event with “God Bless America.”
Commander Quattrini’s two charming granddaughters, Samara Quattrini, 9, and McKenna Hackbarth, 6, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
In addressing the spectators, Goshen Village Mayor Mike Nuzzolese said, “We are blessed to live in the greatest country the world has ever seen. We live in a free society, where we can chose how to live our lives, how to worship, and how to spend our time. Our children can sleep soundly at night knowing they are safe and live in a world of infinite opportunities. But these freedoms, this safety, and these opportunities do not come easy. The world that we are blessed to reside in is made possible by our veterans.”
The mayor continued, “All of our veterans have given something, and many have given all. Today we remember those we have lost who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life. The best way to remember their memory, however, is to support and thank our veterans. Our veterans are all around us, today, and every day. It is incumbent on every American to pay tribute and show appreciation for their sacrifices.”
Adding to his sentiments, Commander Quattrini said, “The patriots whom we deem heroes, they are the ones that pay the price for our freedom, they are ones that bear the brunt to secure our homeland, they are the ones who endure the pain and courageously accept the consequences.
“Too many of our heroes fall to hopelessness, homelessness or self demise while waiting for critical treatment. How much longer will they be held hostage to bureaucratic failure and the victims of ensnarled politics?”
Quattrini reminded the public that honoring veterans is a must, and thanked them for their service.
Concluding his speech with these inspiring words, Quattrini said, “Let your government know we stand behind these brave men and women and we must not forsake them. Pray for them, pray for justice, pray for peace and pray that God will continue to bless America.”
Bill Moore, 72, of Goshen is a member of the color guard. He was only 19 years old when he was drafted in 1967 to serve through 1968.
“It’s an honor to be here today," he said. "Every year the crowd coming here gets bigger. I’m in both veterans organizations in Goshen, and I appreciate the camaraderie of the groups,."
Moore, glad to be part of the color guard, encourages other veterans to join either or both organizations: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1708 or American Legion Post 377.
“We’re always looking for new members," he said. "All vets are eligible."