Manchester VFW post honors veterans

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MANCHESTER — Dozens gathered Monday morning at VFW Post 6471 on Depot Street for a short Veterans Day ceremony and luncheon.

Christopher Conte, the post's commander since May, praised veterans for selflessly placing themselves in harm's way "to protect our country and maintain our way of life."

Veterans have endured long periods of time away from their families, missed births of their children, lost limbs — and their lives, said Conte. The spouses of armed-service members, he added, have suffered disruptions to their own careers and assumed a disproportionate share of child-rearing responsibilities.

Members of the public who want to show their support may do so by hiring veterans, visiting a VA hospital or donating to charity, said Cole, who also spoke of the importance of ending homelessness among veterans.

More than 100 veterans in Vermont were experiencing homelessness in January 2018, according to data made available by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

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Two Maple Street School students read aloud texts selected for Monday's event.

Grayson Peters, 12, of Boy Scout Troop 332, read the lyrics to "Ragged Old Flag," a song from Johnny Cash's 1974 album of the same name.

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Andrew Jacobs, 9, of Cub Scout Pack 333, read "In Flanders Field," a poem by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor who served in World War I.

Conte, joined by Stephanie Casey, president of the VFW auxiliary, laid a wreath to honor deceased veterans.

Members of the Champlain Rifles, a Civil War reenactment group, performed a three-volley salute. The playing of "Taps" concluded the ceremony.

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The event's crowd represented a "good ratio" of veterans and supporters, Cole said after the ceremony.

Charles Gaiotti, 87, of Danby, said events like the one held Monday help him stay connected with other Vermonters who served in the military.

"Without discipline and tradition this country cannot last," he said.

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