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Orange Honors Its Veterans

Orange Honors Its Veterans

Under the leadership of the American Legion Post 127, and its commander, Lewis Merritt, the town of Orange celebrated its veterans with a ceremony on Veterans Day, November 11.  The highlight of the event was probably the invocation by Rev. Joshua Schiff of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, a veteran himself.  He preceded the prayer by sharing the memory of his return to US soil in 2008 after having served in Iraq.

He and his fellow soldiers expected to laugh and cry and kiss the ground – which they did.  But what they did not expect was the welcome offered by local veterans, who came out in the middle of a chilly night to warmly welcome this new crop of fighters, despite a whipping, cold wind.  “They wanted to make sure we had the welcome that they did not experience,” Schiff said.  And he thanked them and all veterans for their selfless service, and for the strength and dignity displayed by so many.

First Selectman Jim Zeoli, when he stepped to the podium to lead in the Pledge of Allegiance, thanked Schiff for those remarks as the most moving speech delivered on this occasion.

Veteran Peter MacDonald read the Soldiers’ Oath, with which they pledge to “support and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”  “The Constitution is a contract between us, the citizens, and the people we elect to run the government on our behalf,” he said.

The Rev. Todd King reminded those in the audience of the passing of Brad Gesler, long-time member of the Orange Congregational Church, and a Navy veteran, who passed away November 1.

Due to impending weather, the Veterans Day ceremony had to be moved indoors, and it took place in the newly refurbished gym at High Plains Community Center.  As is customary, the police Color Guard added solemnity to the proceedings.

By Bettina Thiel – Orange Town News Correspondent

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