Local servicemen, family m-embers and friends gathered in downtown West Harrison to honor the area’s many United States veterans on Veterans Day.
The chilly November weather didn’t stop many prominent members of the Harrison community from celebrating veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other U.S. conflicts.
Ben DeFonce, the veteran’s service officer for the town and a retired marine who fought in Korea, planned and prepared the ceremony for more than six months and described seeing Harrison residents come together as a true honor.
“You see guys over here w-ho were wounded multiple times, and we’re all together,” DeFonce said. “People never want to forget.”
Along with many Silver La-ke residents, elected officials ca-me together to celebrate the vets in the community, including state Assemblyman David Buchwald, members of the Harrison Town Council, and police chief Anthony Marraccini. Mayor Ron Belmont encouraged the crowd to say thanks to veterans.
“How do you say thank you to our vets?” Belmont said. “Next time you do the pledge, stand a little taller. Next time you hear the national anthem, sing along.”
In attendance were many ac-tive and retired military men, including Army Gen. Evo Ri-guzzi, a Harrison native. Riguzzi, al-ong with other decorated officials, encouraged youth involvement with the military.
“It’s not an easy job, and you sacrifice so much,” Riguzzi told the crowd. “But you gain so much in return. Ask any vet here if they’re proud.”
-Reporting by Phil Nobile