More than 100 residents, borough officials and guests attended the annual Veterans Day service in Brookhaven Borough on Saturday at Memorial Island.
With Harry Seth, of American Legion Post #94, serving as master of ceremonies, welcoming remarks were offered by Councilwoman Denise Leslie followed by an invocation delivered by Pastor Lawrence Weed, of the Full Gospel Assembly.
Speakers included state Rep. Joseph Hackett (R-161), Tim Foster, vice commander of American Legion #94; and Brookhaven Mayor Mike Hess.
The keynote speaker was former U.S. Congressman and retired Rear Admiral Joseph Sestak, who served as commander of the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group during the Gulf War as well as the first director of the Navy’s top secret counterterrorism unit.
Sestak also served as director of defense on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton.
Sestak said when WWII veterans were asked to recall their experiences many said the Germans would kill officers first because they believed, by doing that the enlisted men would become “confused.”
“Instead,” said Sestak, “the enlisted soldiers took the initiative and assumed leadership positions; moved forward off the beaches all the way to Berlin. Veterans do not let their buddies down; they help and care for each other as a brotherhood and sisterhood. Patriotism, love and sacrifice for one’s country and one another are examples of American exceptionalism.”
Hackett reflected on vast contributions made by veterans and their willingness to help others, while Hess, a U.S. Navy veteran, expressed appreciation for all veterans for their service and dedication.
“Most vets count their service to this country as a high point in their lives,” he said.
Foster, who spoke on behalf of American Legion Commander George Fritzinger, said all veterans have given of themselves for their country.
“Many have given their all, including their lives,” he said. “We cannot rightfully celebrate the joy of our freedom without remembering and acknowledging the great price that was paid for it.”
Prior to enjoying light refreshments at Borough Hall, the Sun Valley High School Marine Corps JRROTC offered a rifle salute and members of Boy Scout Troop 493 placed wreaths at the war memorials on the island.
The event was also supported by the PA Coalition of Motorcyclists.