American Legion Post 86 leads Wilton's 2022 Veterans Day ceremony

WILTON — Despite a shorter than normal ceremony that was moved indoors for Friday's rain, members of American Legion Post 86 and supporters took time to honor U.S. veterans for this year's Veterans Day.

At the traditional start time of 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, words were shared about the importance of — and appreciation for — those who have given military service to their country.

"Our veterans are valued," said Post Commander Paul Niche.

He shared how, despite serving in the U.S. Army for nine years, for a long time he did not consider himself a veteran because he hadn't seen combat.

"It took a long time for me to get involved," he said of post-service activity through the American Legion.

"(But) we all wrote a blank check to our country," Niche said, noting he was on call for anything that could have come up during that quiet period in the 1980s. "Everybody who has put the uniform on is a veteran."

Along with prayers by Father Reggie Norman of Our Lady of Fatima Church, the ceremony also included a reading from Middlebrook Middle School School student Elyse Pencu, who wrote a contest-winning essay of why veterans should be honored and appreciated.

Her essay focused on recognizing the emotions that family members go through when their loved ones are in service and away from home.

Second Selectman Joshua Cole read a proclamation from his board honoring the day.

"There's a lot of history of service in my family, so this is a very special day for me," he said.

Other officials in attendance included State Rep. Stephanie Thomas, District 143, who was just elected to become Connecticut's next secretary of state, newly elected Ceci Maher, state senator-elect, and the outgoing State Sen. Will Haskell whom she will succeed.