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On Monday: Weston honors veterans with ceremony

vetThe town will be having a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, Nov. 12, beginning at 10:45 a.m. at the Memorial Stone between Weston Town Hall and the library. All members of the public are invited to attend to honor the town’s and the country’s veterans.

All veterans living in town are invited to participate. A free luncheon for veterans and their families will follow the ceremony.

Sunday, Nov. 11, marks the 94th anniversary of the day an armistice went into effect between the allied nations and Germany, marking the beginning of the end of World War I. It is also Veterans Day, a national holiday set aside to honor American veterans of all wars.

The Weston Veteran Affairs Commission and First Selectman Gayle Weinstein decided earlier this week to observe Veterans Day on Monday in order to possibly include some school children in the ceremony.

Betsy Peyreigne, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Commission, said since so many school days have been missed due to the extended power outage caused by Superstorm Sandy, she is not planning to bring the veterans into the schools this year.

Weston Police Sgt. and Coast Guard veteran Mike Ferullo will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony at the Memorial Stone. Sgt. Ferullo returned to Weston in Sept. after a six-month tour of duty in Kuwait.

Other participants include local clergy, a color guard from the Weston Police Department, and possibly some student singers.

Veterans Day history

Armistice Day was first commemorated on Nov. 11, 1919, coinciding with the first anniversary of the armistice that went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

President Woodrow Wilson said at the time, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

Armistice Day was made a legal holiday in 1938 as a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 1954, after World War II and the Korean conflict, Congress changed it to Veterans Day, a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, Congress passed another law, the Uniform Holiday Bill, changing four national holidays — including Veterans Day — to Mondays in order to encourage travel and recreational activities.

After the first adjusted Veterans Day was celebrated, to the dismay of many, on Oct. 25, 1971, the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site said, “It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens.” Gerald Ford changed Veterans Day back to Nov. 11, beginning in 1978.

“The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to Nov. 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good,” the VA Web site states.

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