Veterans, family members and other local residents gathered under a clear November sky Sunday morning to pay homage to those who have served in the U.S. military - both past and present.
The ceremony was organized by the United Veterans Organization and held at the Veterans Memorial at Eisenhower Park, which is dedicated to Nassau County veterans of all wars.
The service began with the Nassau County Police Department Pipe and Drum Band, followed by the advancement of colors, which featured many local VFW groups as well as current Marine Corps Members.
"This event was brought to my attention by my son, who plays in the Nassau County Police Department Pipe and Drums Band," said Carmella Ross. "I've come from a family of veterans; my husband was in Vietnam, my son was in the Marine Corp. That's why I am here, just wanted to pay tribute to the veterans."
In addition to the dedicated veterans and family members, there were many first time attendees as well.
"This is our first time at this event," said Wantagh's Rich Regan, a veteran of the Vietnam War in the 82nd Airborne. His wife, Sharyn Regan, further explained, "We always do something for Veterans Day. My husband's name is on one of the walls of honor here at Eisenhower. We always come over here, but have never been to this ceremony before."
Nassau County Legis. Dennis Dunne Sr., of the 15th Legislative District, filled in for County Executive Ed Mangano. A Vietnam Veteran himself, Dunne spoke about the importance of commemorating this important holiday.
The guest speaker, Major Steven Freese of the 1st Marine Corps District, gave a poignant address discussing the honor that surrounds military service in the United States.
"Today, many men and women serve overseas on the front lines, as many of you have, to fight against extreme violence in order to keep our country free," said Major Freese. "The extreme sacrifice along with the sacrifices in defense of freedom have brought hope to those who served our nation's desire for peace and liberty."
He continued, "I and all Americans cannot thank you enough. There is great pride in this dedication service for our military, past and present, as part of our tradition in defense of our freedom. Once you've served, you've always served this great country. You will have always served and been part of the greatest military forces known to mankind."
Freese and Dunne presented the memorial wreath in front of the monument as Mary Lynn Bird sang "American the Beautiful." After the ceremony, the new Blue Stars Mothers Monument was unveiled to honor all military service members who have served in the armed forces.
"We are here to celebrate, but also to remember," said Legis. Norma Gonsalves, R-East Meadow. "Without the efforts of our armed forces we would not have the freedom we enjoy today. I hope that people realize that whatever front we are fighting on there is one goal in mind, and that is to keep us free."