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Larry Coll

By Heidi Sutton

On Nov. 11, VFW Post 3054 hosted its annual Veterans Day ceremony at Setauket Veterans Memorial Park on Route 25A. The well-attended event paid tribute to the men and women who have served and are currently serving our country.

“Today we celebrate the millions of veterans who have ensured our freedom since America’s humble beginnings. That freedom is here because of the selfless that have continued to stand up, raise their right hand to take an oath and commit to ensuring liberty for all. Throughout our history, our veterans have answered the call to service and we all reap the many benefits of their selflessness. We celebrate their determination, dedication and unwavering patriotism,” said VFW Post 3054 Commander Reanna Fulton during the poignant ceremony.

Fulton’s son, Blake, a 5th-grader at Minnesauke Elementary School, read a speech he had prepared to thank all veterans. “Today is a day to celebrate all the veterans who served … Recent studies say that gratitude leads to happier, healthier and long-lasting life. Be grateful for our veterans and say thank you to them for their sacrifices.”

VFW Post 3054 Chaplain Mike Russell read the opening prayer and as in years past there was the traditional rifle salute and the playing of taps by Richard Wiederman followed by a wreath-laying ceremony.

Bobby White from the American Legion Irving Hart Post 1766; Commander Earl Willoughby of the American Legion Harbor Post 417; Larry Coll of VFW Post 3054; Cub Scouts Pack 333 and Pack 18; and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) and state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) took turns laying a wreath at the park’s monument which honors members of the community who perished in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

“For those of us who are here today, we know the importance of honoring the sacrifices of veterans and their families. … I hope today serves to motivate us all with a renewed sense of patriotism, purpose and pride,” added Fulton.

 Photos by Heidi Sutton