Veterans Day 2023 at the VFW

Photo by Brett Merrell of Tioga County's centerpiece at its Veterans Memorial.

Veterans Day holds great significance for living veterans, as it is a day dedicated to honoring and expressing gratitude for their service and sacrifice. For living veterans, this day serves several important purposes; recognition and appreciation, unity and bond, reflection and healing, and public support.

Warner Hall of Post 1371 is named in loving memory of WWII Fallen Hero Glenn A. Warner who has been buried since 1945 in the American Military Cemetery in the Netherlands.

Warner Hall will host the annual indoor service on Nov. 11. Pearl Harbor Survivor Bill Kennedy before he died said it’s too cold on Nov. 11 to sit in his wheelchair at the Tioga County Veterans Memorial and asked that they move the ceremony inside to the VFW. The younger veterans listened.

The program starts at 11 a.m. when the chimes of St. Paul’s and bells at First Presbyterian and Owego Baptist ring 11 times, and fire trucks and emergency vehicles blow their sirens. WWI ended at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, 1918.

Post 1371 will Present the Colors, and Megan Burrell’s Owego Free Academy Chamber Singers will provide patriotic songs. Honor Guard’s Steve Polinsky will trumpet The National Anthem. Honor Guard Chaplain and Blessed Trinity / St. Patrick’s Deacon Michael Donovan will offer the invocation, and later the benediction.

There will be a welcome by the new Commander, Mack Riggs. He’s also the Candor American Legion Commander.

The Director of the Tioga County Veterans’ Service Agency, Michael Middaugh, will update veterans on the many services and benefits his agency provides.

An overview of Twin Tiers Mission 16 Honor Flight by attendee Al Eaton, former president of the Southern Tier Support Group, will highlight he and his wife’s duties of a guardian performed on other Honor Flights,

An overview of “The Sentinel” from Owego, Army Sgt. Kyle Williams completed 46 months of Sentinel duty on March 30. Owego Pennysaver Editor Wendy Post covered the 956th walk and 120th guard change. His family, Becky Williams and Jim Woloch, were very proud parents watching their Sentinel son.

Vietnam Veteran Lew Sauerbrey will deliver the emotional WWI poem, “In Flanders Fields.” VFW Auxiliary’s Dorolyn Perry will share the meaning of the Red Poppy. A solemn moment “Roll Call” of Tioga County Veterans who died since Memorial Day will take place.

Ralph Trenchard will show a beautifully decorated wreath for Fallen Hero graves in Tioga County. A wreath will be laid at the Tioga County Veterans Memorial to pay respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Guests are encouraged to contribute to buy Court Street Bridge flags honoring Fallen Heroes, and Flag Holders missing on veteran graves in Tioga County cemeteries.

On Veterans Day the American flag flies high – full staff – because of the dedication and sacrifices of our veterans. Memorial Day is half-staff to remember deceased veterans.

The Missing Man Table remembers four Tioga County Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Korea.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway of Valor Tribute Ride was begun in October 2008 for veterans and the public alike to become aware that this particular stretch of highway exists to honor Vietnam veterans. It is the only state highway of its kind for New York’s Vietnam veterans.

What’s needed for Veterans Day is a display with military memorabilia and artifacts to educate attendees about the history of the armed forces. It could also be used for school visitations.

Recognition will be paid to five individuals for their veteran contributions. Appreciation Plaques will be presented to Post 401 American Legion’s Thomas Simons for the Memorial Day Flag procurement, distribution, and placement. WEBO Owner Dave Radigan will be recognized for his live coverage on Memorial Day from the Tioga County Veterans Memorial and on Veterans Day from Warner Hall.

Also to be recognized is John Loftus for organizing and starting on time parades for Memorial Day and Owego Little League. GRI Telecom President Gordon Ichikawa will be recognized for providing sound on Memorial Day at the park and at Warner Hall for Veterans Day, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in the Dale Sibley Memorial Hall in the VFW.

Also, Owego Pennysaver Editor Wendy Post will be recognized for continuing year round coverage of veteran activities including the Route 38 Vietnam Veterans Tribute Ride and “The Sentinel.”

The VFW will host a light meal after the program to encourage camaraderie among attendees.

Veterans Day is a meaningful occasion for living veterans as it acknowledges their contributions, offers a platform for recognition, and underscores the importance of caring for their well being after their military service.

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