By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA — Patriotism was on full display Thursday when the community turned out to salute its veterans.
Originally known as Armistice Day, the annual federal holiday now known as Veterans Day is meant to honor those who gave of themselves for the good of the country.
“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the fighting in World War I ended in 1918. Due to the conclusion of ‘the war to end all wars,’ Nov. 11 became a recognized day of celebration,” said Commander Scott Kyle of UNITAS Veterans Memorial Association, also known as VFW Post 9594. “The day was originally declared Armistice Day about eight years after the end of World War I and honored soldiers and Marines of that war, but then in 1954, after World War II and Korea, it was named Veterans Day to honor all those who served the United States.
“Today, we honor all of our veterans who unselfishly placed their lives on hold for something greater than themselves. Those men and women were ordinary people and they heard the call of duty and answered it.”
The annual Veterans Day service was held at the veterans’ monument on Main Street, opposite the Ravena firehouse. The color guard held flags proudly aloft, musician and singer Jack Covey performed several songs and recited a poem, and bugler John Vasto concluded the ceremony.
Covey, a combat Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, pointed out that some veterans have experienced severe trauma and need to come to each other’s aid.
“We are a family and we need to support each other,” Covey said. “There are a horrible number of veterans that have taken their own lives. I just want to do everything in my power to be able to encourage and be available for veterans.”
Korean War veteran Michael Albano was among the veterans attending the service and said remembering the sacrifices that have been made by the troops is critical.
“Veterans Day is important so people never forget,” Albano said after the ceremony. “So many people have lost so many children.”
Albano is also past commander of VFW Post 9594.
“I was fortunate. I was in the Navy on a ship, but others were not so fortunate,” Albano said.
Mayor Bill Misuraca said following the ceremony that the community turning out for events like this shows veterans did not serve in vain.
“When veterans see the public, especially the younger generation, I think it shows them that their sacrifice was needed and welcomed and necessary for us to be where we are,” Misuraca said. “They can see what we have because of them.”
Veteran Trip Powell, another VFW past commander, said people need to remember that the impact of military conflict can be harsh.
“People need to remember that conflict has consequences,” Powell said. “It’s important as a country to realize that not everything is about politics and that there are people here who gave of themselves, at risk of their lives, for something bigger than themselves.”