VALHALLA, N.Y. – The American flag was raised, songs were sung and memories honored Sunday as Valhalla saluted members of the armed forces.
A couple dozen residents and former members of the military gathered for the annual 11 a.m. Veterans Day ceremony Sunday around a pair of memorials on Broadway to pay tribute to the men and women who served their country.
“Each and every one of us owes them more than words could express,” said George Fusco, World War II veteran and chaplain of Valhalla’s American Legion Post 1038. “Let’s show them gratitude by taking this day to honor them in our park and pay tribute to their outstanding service.”
The group of veterans, from wars as recent as Iraq and as distant as World War II, listened to the chaplain’s words before joining hands and singing “God Bless America” and the "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Many were wearing American Legion caps, emblems or jackets as they silently watched the American flag be raised to full staff. Afterwards, some took a walk around the small park, reading the names inscribed on the World War I and II memorials while paying their respects.
John Creskey, vice commander of Post 1038, said that while Veterans Day is about honoring all the men and women who served their country, he asked visitors not to forget those who lost their lives while protecting their nation.
These individuals have passed along a valuable lesson - one of purpose, sacrifice and bravery, Creskey said.
“If there is a glory in war it is the incredible spirit in which it engenders,” he said. “Those who offered their lives and sacrificed their all with magnificent abandon. Heroism is contagious.”
Westchester County Legislator Mike Smith thanked the veterans and said the nation should never lose its appreciativeness of their service.
“The way we honor and respect veterans is a great thing,” he said.