FULTON, NY – A bitter cold didn’t stop dozens of veterans and community members from braving the below freezing temperatures to attend the Fulton Veterans Council’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.
Across from Fulton City Hall, President of the Fulton Veterans Council Garry Visconti led a 45-minute ceremony to honor veterans from all branches of the United States Armed Forces.
Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr., city councilors, county legislators, members of the Fulton Fire and Police departments, several hometown veterans and local veterans organizations, and dozens of devoted community members braved the cold as a small token of appreciation in honoring our nation’s veterans.
Father Fuchs, a World War II veteran, opened the ceremony in prayer and a reminder that today, November 11, 2017, marks 99 years to the day from the ending of the Great War, more commonly referred to as World War I.
“Today, we honor all veterans that served at any time, those declared as protectors of our nation that fought for the freedoms we so widely enjoy,” Father Fuchs said.
2017 Veteran of the Year, Larry Macner led the group through the Pledge of Allegiance while Bonnie Fauler led the National Anthem as the crowd carried it through.
Ray Caprin of the Fulton Elks Club reminded us of the everyday tasks we complete that we are allowed only because of the selflessness of our nation’s veterans.
“These are freedoms awarded by our armed forces putting their lives on the line with the safety of American citizens as their motivation,” Caprin said.
Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. thanked everyone for withstanding the cold to come together in honor of all United States armed force veterans and extended a happy, healthy, and restful retirement wish to Director of Oswego County Veterans Services Agency, Donna Kestner.
Kestner, in her last program with the title she holds at Oswego County Veterans Services Agency, used the opportunity to remind all in attendance that each citizen is an American first, before any other status including political affiliation.
“Always take a few minutes to remind yourself that we live in the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. No matter which candidate is voted into office, and whether or not you agree with their opinion, this is without a doubt the best country in the world to be living in,” Kestner said.
She sent a heartfelt thank you to the civilians that attended the ceremony in honor of veterans in their city and across the nation.
“Just as our flag is a symbol of a great land and just as our veterans and active duty military are symbols reminding us that they served or are currently serving to help keep our nation free, you too, as community members are symbols of patriotism, so keep flying your flag, speak up and say thank you to veterans you meet, for all of us working together continue to make this a great nation,” she said.
In particular on this day, Kestner, a veteran herself, shared a message with fellow veterans of a shared sense of bittersweet memories, fond friendships, and even the horrors of war that may not be escaped.
“To you and your fallen comrades on this Veterans Day, I salute you,” she finished.
Mayor Woodward and Macner, with the help of third ward councilor Don Patrick’s young daughters, together they presented a wreath in front of the memorial statue while VFW Auxiliary President and members laid a black wreath in honor of those who never returned home.
A 21-gun salute sounded followed by the live playing of Taps by G. Ray Bodley High School freshman and boy scout, David Cordone Jr.
A luncheon held at the VFW exchanged Veteran of the Year status from Macner to the 2018 Veteran of the Year, Bob LaRock a Korean War veteran of the Marines who in his duty will serve as Grand Marshal of the annual Fulton Memorial Day parade.