FULTON, NY – Gathered at the veterans monument across from city hall, the Fulton Veterans Council hosted a ceremony Sunday to honor the veterans who have gone to war to defend the countryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s freedoms.
Joined by a large group of Fultonians, several offered comments and prayers during the annual observation of Veterans Day. (See gallery below)
Father Moritz Fuchs, a veteran, pointed out that the observation is not reserved to the fallen alone, but to all of the soldiers who were killed, injured or who have recently passed away. Fuchs prayed that everyone find it in themselves to honor those who have fought for freedom every day.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe need more than the silent peace of cemeteries,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said.
Michael Dunn, who heads the Fulton Veterans Council, pointed out that Veterans Day is observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which marks the armistice treaty that brought the official end of World War 1 in 1918.
For soldiers in battle, Dunn said that death became ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œa constant companion instead of a distant relativeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â as they watched friends die.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œHow do we veterans do it?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe remember, we gather. … We remember the brothers who died for us. That is Veterans Day.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Fulton City Court Judge Spencer Ludington, a guest speaker during the ceremony, pointed out that the country is nearing the end of its generation of World War 1 veterans.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt was the war to end all wars… the passing of a great generation,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Ludington said.
Ludington added that soon, World War II veterans will be lost, as well.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt is our greatest generation,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said, noting that a thousand veterans are dieing every day.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe can never repay the 650,000 who died in battle or the 1.4 million who were wounded,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Ludginton said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBut 25 million veterans are still living today.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Lundington encouraged everyone to take the time to show their respect to the people who were willing to fight.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe price of freedom is high,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe cannot afford to forget those willing to pay for it.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Following the ceremony, a luncheon was held at the Fulton VFW Post 569. During the event, the Fulton Veterans Council named Erwin ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBussÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Allen as the 2008 Veteran of the Year. Allen, a U.S. Army veteran who fought in World War II, will serve as the Grand Marshall of the annual Memorial Day Salute parade.