Jeannette Ross photos Near freezing temperatures did not deter about 30 veterans from marching through Wilton Center on Nov. 11 to the Veterans Memorial Green, where about the same number of civilians greeted them for a Veterans Day ceremony. Under Saturday\u2019s crisp blue sky several speakers recalled the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces in service to their country. The parade and ceremony were arranged by American Legion Post 86 and Commander Don Hazzard, a veteran of the Vietnam War, led the morning\u2019s program. Post chaplain Frank Dunn opened the ceremony with a prayer asking for peace and tranquility to be ushered into \u201cour world of confusion and doubt.\u201d He prayed that \u201cout of our determination and endeavor there may emerge a better world, a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to preserving the individual rights and dignity of man, a world of tolerance and justice \u2026\u201d Selectman David Clune, on behalf of First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, read a proclamation that acknowledged veterans \u201cfrom all walks of life, many of whom have charged into harm\u2019s way, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the freedoms that have blessed America\u201d and urged their countrymen to dedicate themselves \u201cto the goal of an enduring peace so that their efforts should not have been in vain.\u201d Speaking as a daughter and wife of a veteran, state Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) said, \u201cI am here to tell you the State of Connecticut honors you, supports you, and we\u2019re so privileged because each and every one of you have signed up and made a contract with every citizen of this country to sacrifice everything up to and including their life. And there\u2019s no greater commitment or sacrifice anyone can do.\u201d Boucher recalled that when she was dating her husband Bud it was the height of the Vietnam War era and he, along with other veterans at that time, were urged not to wear their uniforms in public because of the hostile reactions many were subject to by Americans opposed to the war. For many years he, like other veterans, kept his service hidden, she said. That national sentiment began to change in the 1990s as yellow ribbons sprang up in honor of troops serving in the Gulf War and later after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. \u201cTimes really changed and they changed for the better in the ways in which the public supported our veterans,\u201d Boucher said. \u201cI\u2019m so glad that he and others that served during that time proudly are involved and committed in their communities so they can be involved and a model for our schoolchildren here.\u201d Picking up on that theme, Hazzard, a former heavy equipment operator with the Navy Seabees, said, \u201cFifty years ago today gratitude was in short supply among many segments of the American public. Heroes returned from Vietnam and were discouraged from wearing their uniforms in public places due to the disrespectful actions of some protestors and others who disagreed with the policies set by our elected officials. \u201cToo often the protesters failed to realize that it was not the campus agitator who secured our First Amendment rights, it was the military veteran. Peacetime or wartime, all veterans have taken an oath indicating they were willing to offer their lives to defend our constitution and our country. Oftentimes it is the intimidating sight of an Army Ranger team, a Navy destroyer, an Air Force fighter jet, Marine Corps artillery, or a Coast Guard cutter that deters an enemy from harming us. \u201cMost veterans will agree that the best wars are the ones that are never fought,\u201d he continued. \u201cThe soldier above all prays for peace for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But when war is necessary, America\u2019s fighting men and women always come forward and put their country first.\u201d He went on to say, to service members war is not \u201ca mere history lesson or a subject of a book. For them, the battle continues long after the firing stops and the return home is complete. \u2026 We need to remember a veteran is someone who at one point wrote a blank check payable to the USA for an amount up to and including their life.\u201d The ceremony was punctuated by the National Anthem, sung by Wilton High School sophomore Madeline Pennino and Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes by Drew Kennedy. It concluded with the playing of taps by Conor Bendett, a freshman at Wilton High School.