Frank Speziale photo
NORWICH – Norwich VFW Post 2782 held its annual Veterans Day Parade on Sunday followed by a ceremony in East Park, where guest speaker and retired Army Sergeant Major John Sheldon delivered powerful words to people in attendance about the importance of supporting veterans and active military personnel, and avoiding complacency as citizens of the United States.
Sunday was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending World War I, and Sheldon – who spent 22 years in service with the Army deployed at numerous locations – spoke to attendees about the commitment of veterans in preserving freedom, both 100 years ago and today.
"When this armistice was signed an eerie silence crept across the battlefield, and four years of unbelievable destruction all of a sudden came to an end," said Sheldon, noting that 320,000 military members lost their lives in World War I. He said citizens can begin to repay their debts to veterans by remembering veterans' experiences and the challenges they've had to overcome.
"We must remember that a veteran is someone who wrote a blank check––a blank check made payable to the United States of American for an amount that included their life," said Sheldon. "And our country held this blank check until that servicemen or servicewomen received the command from higher headquarters of 'carry on.'"