Saugerties American Legion pays tribute to military veterans
Neither a light drizzle nor the coronavirus stopped Lamouree-Hackett American Legion Post 72 in Saugerties from celebrating Veterans Day in its traditional fashion, but the ceremony was shortened, and the traditional lunch and invitation to the legion’s museum were dropped from the observance.
The ceremony included the presentation of an American flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol by Congressman Antonio Delgado to the post.
The flag was presented to the post in commemoration of the post’s hundredth anniversary, Delgado said.
“There is a lot of partisanship and divisiveness in our country right now,” Delgado said. “Bet whenever I need inspiration to stay the course, then we, with a unifying voice, committed to finding common ground, I just think of our veterans, the men and women in our armed services. The service of our veterans is entirely selfless. These brave men and women literally put their lives on the line in defense of our country, to uphold our values. They sign up, not as Democrats, Republicans or independents, but as Americans and they do so for all of us.”
Delgado also praised the families of the volunteers in the military service, who “make incredible sacrifices to support loved ones overseas and those who return home with both visible and invisible scars.”
Delgado cited the American Legion’s constitution as containing “values that speak and resonate to today as values must seek to emulate and hold at the core of our being; values like upholding and defending our Constitution, instilling a sense of individual obligation to community, state and nation, and upholding the values of justice, freedom and democracy.” America gains strength through diversity, Delgado said, diversity of “gender, of race and religion.”
Remembering the veterans must include remembering the values they fought, and in many cases, gave their lives for, Delgado said. “As your congressman, I have fought, and will continue to fight, to ensure that our servicemen have the equipment needed to do the jobs as they serve, but also employment opportunities and help to transition back to civilian life. That is my commitment to you and your colleagues.”
Delgado ended his talk with a quote from Ronald Reagan: “Today, we remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice that was demanded from them in the line of duty.”
Kevin Pendergast served as chairman of the centennial celebration last year. While the flag was presented in honor of the hundredth year of the post, this is, in fact, its hundred-and-first year.
In the tradition of Veterans Day remembrances at Post 72, poppy girl Harleigh Rider, the daughter of Chris and Christa Rider, joined by Legion Auxiliary president Cynthia Babb, placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown.
A rifle volley closed the ceremony.
Gaetana Ciarlante opened the ceremony with her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner, and a bugler played “Taps” to close it.
Chaplain Paul Peyser offered both a prayer and a history of Veterans Day. “On Veterans Day we remember the allied forces signing a cease fire with Germany in France on November 11, 1918, bringing World War I to a close. Veterans Day honors all those who have served in the military.”
Prior to the close of the ceremonies, the master of ceremonies, Jim Gage thanked all the participants for following the virus precautions of maintaining social distance and wearing masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The ceremony closed with a prayer by Deacon Hank Smith of Saint Mary of the Snow and Saint Joseph Catholic churches and the firing of a salute.