Amid sunny skies, Westfielders surrounded the World War I Memorial in downtown Westfield at noon Sunday to honor veterans, both living and deceased.
Peter Hogaboom, Past Commander of Martin Wallberg Post # 3 of the American Legion, served as the master of ceremonies. Chaplain Bob D’Areca recited the opening prayer, which was followed by the Town Bell Master Jack Panosh ringing the United Methodist Church bell in remembrance of the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918 and in honor of all the men and women who serve this country in the name of freedom. Later in the ceremony, Panash rang the bell four more times in memory of the four Americans killed on Sept 11, 2012 during a terrorist attack in Bengahzi Libya.
Ryan Weddle, a Naval Officer in the Reserves, who moved to Westfield with his wife and young son on Memorial Day, said it is great that the town has a ceremony in honor of Veterans Day, which allows residents to honor servicemen and women while remaining close to home.
"I'm very glad the town and the American Legion put this on," he said. "It's a beautiful day."
Kerry Stubbs provided a stirring rendition of Irving Berlin's 'God Bless America' while Dr. Ted Schlosberg played 'Taps.' Hogaboom recalled that following the terrorist attacks in 2001, Schlosberg visited the Memorial each evening at sunset for 30 days to play the historic piece.
Memorial wreaths were placed by The American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and The Auxiliary of the American Legion. Retired Col. Dennis Dougherty placed a wreath for the 117th Cavalry Association and the 1-102ndCavalry unit from the Westfield Armory.
Charlotte Ruiz, of the Ladies Auxiliary, said she was honored to place the wreath as she had also done on Memorial Day.
Acting Mayor JoAnn Neylan thanked servicemen and women around the world for their work to ensure the freedoms we enjoy.
Everyone was invited back to Post 3 for refreshments and fellowship immediately after the ceremonies.