Riverhead High School NJROTC cadets hold the flags of the branches of the armed forces during Veterans Day ceremonies Nov. 11 at the War Memorial on West Main Street. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The Riverhead Combined Veterans Committee today hosted Veterans Day ceremonies this morning at the War Memorial on West Main Street.

Riverhead VFW Commanding Officer Thomas Najdzion led the ceremonies, attended by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Van Rensselaer Skidmore Post 2476 in Riverhead , members of the American Legion Post 273 in Riverhead, the veterans organizations’ auxiliaries, the Riverhead High School NJROTC, Riverhead Town elected officials and others.

Wreaths were placed at the base of the granite monument, which has stood for more than 100 years, commemorating local men lost in World War I.

Ceremonies included the placement of wreaths at the base of the granite War Memorial monument erected to honor the Riverhead men who served in World War I. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The Rev. Dr. Sean Murray of the First Congregational church of Riverhead gave the invocation, asking for God’s blessings on our veterans today and on our veterans in the making.

Najdzion recounted the the history and meaning of the holiday, which prior to 1954 was known as Armistice Day — the day in 1918 the armistice agreement was signed and the bloody, four-year “war to end all wars” that claimed the lives of more than 16 million people formally came to an end. The armistice took effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month of 1918.

“We have come here today to honor the men and women of this community who went forth as the living strength of our flag. They were the Unites States armed forces on land and sea and in the air, some of whom did not return,” Nadjzion said.

“These American defenders left our schools, our shops, our farms to take up weapons against the foes. They left their peacetime pursuits with confidence in their hearts and assurances upon their lips. They were aware of the dangers before them, yet they responded without hesitancy to the call of duty,” he said.

“These are the men and women in whom we entrusted all our faith. Fighting under the flag of this nation is the fervent duty of every able-bodied American. And we, the Untied States, will always honor those who go forth in defense of our nation. They are the true guardians of freedom, justice and equality among men,” Nadjzion said.

VFW Post 2476 Commander Thomas Nadjzion speaking at the 2023 Veterans Day ceremonies. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar addressed the assembled guests on the lawn outside the Suffolk County Historical Society, where the monument is located.

“On the 11th hour on the 11th day and on the 11th month we should forever honor the brave men and women who served the United States. A veteran, whether active duty, retired or reserve, is someone who at one point in their lives wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to the ultimate sacrifice, their lives,” Aguiar said.

T”hey were called upon to risk their lives for our American ideals our freedom, our justice and our democracy. That is, ladies and gentlemen, a true honor. Unfortunately there are way too many people in our country today who no longer understand that fact,” she said.

“Let’s not forget the American military members present in the Middle East who are under constant attack by our enemies. May God protect them and bring them home safely to their families.

“I am proud to be American and every day I recognize our veterans and all the sacrifices they made to protect our liberty,” Aguiar said. “May God bless the veterans and may God bless America.”

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.