STRATTON - Citizens gathered early Monday afternoon at the Stratton Veterans Memorial Park to pay homage during Veterans Day services.
Goldie Litva, chaplain for Toronto American Legion Post 86, recited the Legion's Prayer, after which Mike Wilson, Stratton chief of police and master of ceremonies, welcomed the gathering. After the national anthem was played and the Pledge of Allegiance recited, guest speaker William Demjan, Army Korean War veteran, spoke about the meaning of Veterans Day.
"It's an honor to be here in Stratton," Demjan said, adding veterans should be acknowledged for their sacrifices. "We are their friends, family and co-workers. We can't repay them enough for the sacrifices they've made."
SPEAKER — Army Staff Sgt. Brian Badamy was guest speaker during Veterans Day services Monday at the Stratton Veterans Memorial Park. - Mark Miller
Demjan said all in the armed forces have one thing in common, and that is each member takes an oath that they would be willing to die defending their country. He then told a story of a female veteran who earned the coveted Flying Cross for saving fellow servicemen during combat.
"The veteran is the true hero," Demjan continued, adding that "It's up to us to give their sacrifices meaning."
Demjan said the country shouldn't forget veterans for their service, and "the world has changed. I'm pleased to say the people of Stratton haven't forgotten. May God bless the American heroes we honor today."
Army Staff Sgt. Brian Bedamy was introduced as having been in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Understanding the importance of serving (in the armed forces) can't be understated," he said, adding he wished the public was more aware of veterans' sacrifices. "This new enemy we face without uniform is here to stay, regardless of what politicians and the media say."
The benediction was led by C. David Rhodes, past commander of the Toronto American Legion Post 86. Before the benediction, he gave some startling statistics on veterans' suffrage. He also said cutbacks in the military were making it more difficult to defend the country. He also added while 15 percent of the country's armed forces were now women, many faced sexual assault.
"It's not peaches and cream for our veterans right now," he said. "What's the future?"
The ceremony ended with a salute to the war dead by the Toronto American Legion Post 86 honor guard and the playing of taps.