FULTON, NY – Many Fulton community members stood alongside local veterans of all branches of service this Veterans’ Day (November 11) morning to recognize their services and express thankfulness for their sacrifices.
Headed by President of the Fulton Veterans’ Council, Garry Visconti, the Veterans’ Day ceremony drew a substantial crowd including county legislators from Districts 22, 24 and 25: James Karasek, Dan Farfaglia and Frank Castiglia Jr., respectively.
Also in the crowd were former legislator Louella LeClair, Judge Spencer Ludington from Oswego County Surrogate’s Court, Fulton city councilmen Norman Foster and Larry Macner and former councilmen Carm Cavallaro and Bob Weston.
The ceremony began with an opening prayer from Father Fuchs, a World War II veteran that has been invited to Germany later this month for the anniversary of the Nuremberg trials in which Fuchs was actively involved in during his time of service.
The 2014-2015 Veteran of the Year, John Young, then led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by Bonnie Fauler singing the National Anthem.
Ray Caprin of the Fulton Elks then took to the podium to shed light on some of the programs the BPOE has made available to veterans and the public such as Adopt-A-Veteran, a program in which lonely veterans, often in hospitals or retirement homes, are offered regular visits and companionship from an Elks volunteer.
David Orr also stood at the podium to encourage volunteers to be a part of DAV and assist in driving veterans to and from appointments that are unable to do so themselves.
There are many services available for veterans, both locally and nationally.
County Legislator, Farfaglia recalled hearing stories of war from his grandfather while growing up.
In his adulthood, he encouraged his reluctant grandfather to follow through with an interview and have his memories of war permanently preserved through the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
Ultimately, both Farfaglia and his grandfather were thankful to have captured these personal memories for the rest of time and Visconti agreed with Farfaglia’s recommendation to encourage all veterans to preserve their personal accounts of war.
County legislator Karasek spoke to the crowd in regards to the youth of our country and their opportunity to learn and appreciate the history of the United States, specifically in war.
“I recently was able to read a history textbook and I was appalled to see that the Korean War was covered in two paragraphs,” said Karasek.
He went on to explain that the Vietnam War was covered in one page, World War I was covered in one paragraph before World War II was covered in a full chapter, “as it very well should be,” said Karasek, and the Revolutionary War and Civil War were covered slightly more extensively.
“The common denominator in all of this is our freedom,” said Karasek. “It is now about countries that don’t respect our freedom, that don’t respect the United States of America. Kids do not have the opportunity to look at history and see how we got to where we are today.”
Karasek agreed that in ways such as interviewing and recording personal accounts of war from our veterans we are linking today’s age of technology to history.
Kaylee Foster, daughter of Fulton city councilman Norman “Jay” Foster, chose to speak at the ceremony to read a poem she had written in honor of veterans everywhere and in doing so, was able to show the community that there are youth still invested and interested in the history of their country and those that fought to defend it.
Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. initiated a moment of silence during his speech showing his appreciation and deepest gratitude for our local veterans and veterans throughout the country.
“On behalf of myself, the city council, and the city of Fulton, I want to say thank you to our veterans, God Bless you all and God Bless the United States of America,” said Woodward.
Kathy Trowbridge, administrative assistant to the mayor, was unable to attend the services while on vacation in Florida, but she was able to send her deepest sentiments of thankfulness to our veterans as well.
Veteran of the Year for 2015-2016 Alan DeLine and Mayor Woodward placed the wreath while Bonnie Fauler led the crowd in a song.
Visconti noted that since the Polish Home graciously donated the meal to be held following the services, there was extra money within the budget. With this money, Mayor Woodward and the council agreed to refurbish the flagpoles at Veterans’ Park.
Visconti concluded by thanking the city emergency responders present at the ceremony including the Fulton City Police Department, Fulton City Fire Department and Menters Ambulance as well as thanking the numerous local veterans groups that helped organize the ceremony and everyone in the community for their attendance as well as wishing the Marine Corp. a “Happy 240th birthday” as was observed yesterday, November 10.
A gun salute wrapped up the ceremony and the crowd traveled to the Fulton Polish Home for a Thanksgiving dinner and the presentation of the 2015-2016 Veteran of the Year to DeLine.
The 2014-2015 Veteran of the Year, John Young presented the 2015-2016 Veteran of the Year plaque to DeLine alongside Fulton Veterans Council president, Garry Visconti.
“I am honored, Alan, to have you be selected for veteran of the year,” said Visconti as the plaque from the Fulton Veterans Council was presented to DeLine for his faithful dedication to his services to our country and many years of serving our community veterans.
As Fulton police and fire commissioner, active with the Fulton Veterans Council, formerly teaching at the college and active in his church, Visconti announced that Deline is “very deserving of this award.”
DeLine announced his family and presented his 7-year-old great-granddaughter with a picture of his police service dog from his time as a military police officer.
Visconti again expressed his thanks to the Fulton Polish Home for donating the dinner to the veterans and their families and with that, dinner was served.