FARMINGTON — “This day is about our veterans, and honoring our veterans,” said Rep. Russell Black, R-Wilton, at the Veterans Day ceremony in Wilton on Wednesday.

In Wilton and Farmington, ceremonies were held thanking veterans for their sacrifices for America.

Black read a letter from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, at the Wilton ceremony, noting that since the founding of the United States, 48 million Americans have served in the armed forces, and 1.3 million have died in wars.

“We honor those who have paid the ultimate price,” Collins wrote in her letter. “We honor those remaining with us and pledge that they never will be forgotten.”

Farmington veteran Peter Tracy said at the Wilton ceremony that he defined a veteran as any person who takes the oath and serves honorably in peace or combat situations. He emphasized that veterans pledge to make a payment up to and including life and liberty.

At Walmart in Farmington, it was a time to recognize those who restored the Red Schoolhouse-Briggs Cemetery behind the store. Certificates were given to those who performed the work.

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The damp, chilly weather “is just a small token of the challenges veterans have had to face in the various wars,” Farmington attorney and historian Paul Mills said. He thanked Wal-Mart for its role in helping veterans with its foundation that has given more than $40 million to veterans’ employment and transition programs.

Mills pointed out that the cemetery was one of the few that holds only the graves of 19th-century veterans. He recited a famous quote from philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Phillips resident Dick Matthews read his essay, “Connections,” at the Walmart ceremony. He reflected upon the bond that veterans have with one another as a result of their service.

Farmington resident and veteran Charles Bennett was recognized with a certificate for his contributions to his country and veterans organizations within the community. Eustis resident and World War II veteran Raymond Armandi received a Silver Star from Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton.

Rep. Andy Buckland, R-Farmington, said he was honored to be among the veterans present.

“This celebration and acknowledgement of your service is so important to me and everyone here,” he said. “Your service was characterized by sacrifice, dedication and risk that you took and continue to take today.”

At the ceremony in Farmington, a wreath was laid at the World War I monument on upper Main Street. The procession traveled to Meetinghouse Park to lay wreaths at monuments there. A wreath was also laid at the American Legion Post 28 monument at High and Middle streets.

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“This celebration and acknowledgement of your service is so important to me and everyone here.” — Rep. Andy Buckland


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