Since the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918,  Americans have paid respect on Nov. 11 to those who have served in our armed forces, state Rep. Russell Black told a large gathering Friday at the Wilton Lions Club.

The Wilton Veterans Day service, along with those in Farmington, were well attended this year. Words of appreciation were spoken and wreaths laid at monuments in memory of those who gave their lives for their country.

The American Legion Post 28 sponsored a wreath-laying service and prayer at the World War I monument in Farmington. The gathering moved down Main Street to Meetinghouse Park where veterans laid wreaths at the World War II, Vietnam and Civil War monuments.

For the 16th year, a Veterans Day service was held at Wal-Mart on the Wilton Road. State legislators spoke, the Farmington Emblem Club No. 460 performed a flag-folding ceremony and the Franklin County Fiddlers performed. Katie Smith, a Wal-Mart employee, sang the national anthem.

There is a new generation of veterans still fighting against the forces of terrorism, Black said at the Wilton service. There are younger patriotic, freedom-loving Americans who are now ready to step forward for the future of our children and grandchildren, he said.

When Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. asked the more than 40 people gathered around the monument at the Wilton Lions Club how many were parents of children in the service, several hands went up.

When they sign up, it is hard to not know whether your child is OK, he said. Nichols did a tour of Iraq, as did his daughter and son, he said.

He spoke of his own worry when his son’s platoon went missing and there were reports of a platoon under attack. He had no contact with him.

The platoon experienced mechanical problems out in the field. It was another platoon that had been attacked, but as a parent, it was a long five days, Nichols said.

He read a letter addressed to a Mrs. Bixby, informing her that her five sons had died in combat. The letter was signed by Abraham Lincoln.

This year, there have been 15 U.S. servicemen killed. Fifteen families have received that knock on their door rather than a letter, he said.

He asked for prayer for them. He also asked for prayer for the 120 law enforcement officers who who have been killed while on duty so far this year. Many veterans go into law enforcement, he said.

“Pray for them, pray for our country,” he said. “It is a rough time for everyone.”

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