By Aramis Khosronejad
American Legion Wilson Ritch Post 432 recognized Veterans Day on Saturday, Nov. 11, with a ceremony at the Port Jefferson Veterans Memorial Park in front of the harbor.
The ceremony consisted of a speech saluting and memorializing U.S. troops and veterans. Wilson Ritch Post 432 is dedicated to providing “support all around” to service members and veteran families, according to post Cmdr. Bob Masterson. The post was established in 1919 and has provided services for the Long Island veterans and the military community ever since.
Masterson was appointed commander this year, a position he said was a “great honor” for him. Masterson has been a member of Post 432 for 30 years. He was born in the Bronx and joined the military in 1961, serving as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Once he left the Army, he came out to the Long Island area and “did what I could to support the post.”
This Veterans Day service has lasted for five decades, according to Masterson. The ceremony aims to “tell the general public what us veterans have been through,” he said.
The commander also stated how the post aims to “try to enlist as many veterans that are still out there, to get them involved in the American Legion and give them the support they need.” “Whether it’s physical or emotional support or employment support, all they need to do is go to a local post and sign up and build the American Legion and its cause,” he continued.
The Veterans Memorial in Port Jeff represents an ideal place to hold the Veterans Day ceremony because of the “history and tradition” the harbor has, Masterson said.
He went on to explain the services that the Legion provides for Veterans. “We support Stony Brook Veterans Home,” he explained. “For those inside the home, we prepare events for them and have parties for them — support all around.”
Masterson concluded his commemoration by saying, “Give my blessing for all that [veterans] have done for us. It keeps us moving forward.”