by Rachel Hunter
Veterans Day (originally known as Armistice Day) is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning on November 11, 1918.
Celebrating the 100th anniversary since the armistice was signed, it was at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month (November 11, 2018 at 11 a.m.) that the Annual Veterans Day Observance in Gouverneur, organized by the Silas Wainwright VFW Post 6338 and the James Maloy American Legion Post 0065, and opportunity for local residents to honor all those who have serve and continue to serve this great country with valor, bravery and dedication to the cause of freedom.
Master of Ceremonies Michael Webster, US Navy (Ret.) and Past Commander of VFW Post 6338 stated the following: “We are here to remember those who died and fought in World War I. Actually, it wasn’t World War I. It was the War To End All Wars, later to be remembered as World War I. I know it is cold today, but I want you just for a moment to remember those who were in the trenches, they didn’t have the luxury of arriving in a car, spending a few minutes here, and then going to a warm place again.”
VFW Post 6338 Chaplain Gerald Barker gave the invocation. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by VFW Post 6338 Commander Richard Fisher and American Legion Post 65 Commander Gloria Weldon.
VFW Post 6338 Commander Richard Fisher and American Legion Post 65 Commander Gloria Weldon then commenced with the Presentation of Wreaths.
The Presentation of the Flowers was conducted by Jeff Platt, VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary President, and Deanna Cline, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary President.
The Presentation of the Yellow Rose was conducted by Gold Star Mother Nancy Cappellino.
Lynda Andrews, Daughters of the American Revolution descendant, offered the Presentation of the Red Rose.
A wreath was presented by Steve Cline of Sons of the American Legion.
Roland Roderick conducted the Presentation of Wreath from Gouverneur Students.
Jeff Forsythe then offered a bagpipe selection of “Amazing Grace.”
The guest speaker, former Village of Gouverneur mayor and current Town of Gouverneur Councilman Curran Wade, made the following address:
“This is an exciting day for us, for everybody. One hundred years ago armistice was proclaimed after World War I. I am very proud of that, and that is what I want to express today is the pride that I have to address you as a former Army member and my family. I am proud of each and every one that started back years ago.
“I was going through some relics, some cards, some pictures years ago and I found a letter from my great uncle, Custer Mitchell, who fought in World War I in Germany. He had sent the letter to my grandmother, talking about what he did. I am very proud of that. And with it was a little pennant that had United States Army on it. It’s over 100 years old. I am proud of that.
“My uncle fought in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, and I am very proud of that.
“My other uncle was a medic at the Army hospitals in Germany, and in Belgium, and I am proud of that.
“My son-in-law was a Marine, and he was in Japan in the 60s. My other son-in-law didn’t make it home. God bless him, he was in the Army. This brings us to present day. My brother-in-law was in the Marine Corps. He fought in the Far East and was in Japan.
“That brings us to my father, Curran E. Wade, Sr. who helped build tanks. He was a triple engineer and worked in the steel mills in Alabama. I saw some of those tanks going down the railway going north to the various forts and overseas.
“Other people I am proud of are my kids. My son-in-law is a Brigadier General, and he is in charge of the Army National Guard State of Vermont. David Manfredi is his name.
“My other son-in-law just retired as a major in the Marine Corps, and was attached to the Pentagon, and continues to work at the Pentagon after his retirement.
“And as for me, I spent six years in the Army, 18 months in Korea.
“I hope this brings to the point that I am trying to make. You have to be proud of everybody that you know that was in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and that contributed to our country. I am very proud, and on the 100th anniversary – the eleventh hour, the eleventh day, the eleventh month. God bless each and every one of you, God bless America, and God bless our veterans.”
The honor guard salute, conducted by Sergeant-At-Arms Karl Beck, was offered by the joint VFW and American Legion combined firing detail. At the firing of the third volley and the sergeant-at-arms completed his commands, taps were played by Jenneca Cook.
The benediction was led by Ruth Mead, VFW Post 6338 Auxiliary Chaplain.
Michael Webster then gave closing remarks, and then invited all to the VFW Post 6338, 100 W. Main St., Gouverneur, for a delicious beef stew luncheon where all were encouraged to “thank the veterans of our community for their service and sacrifices, for our freedom.”
Much gratitude was extended to all who participated or attended the ceremony.
Local dignitaries attending the observance included Village of Gouverneur Mayor Ron McDougall, Village of Gouverneur Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Finnie, Town of Gouverneur Supervisor Dave Spilman, Jr., and Town of Gouverneur Deputy Supervisor Eldon Conklin.