BARKHAMSTED/PRESS RELEASE — Riverton Grange #169 held its third Veteran of the Month recognition ceremony for Vietnam War-era U.S. Air Force veteran George Washington. The Riverton American Legion Post #159 Honor Guard led by Commander Tim Sweeney raised an American flag for one month and presented a 3 rifle volley to recognize the service and sacrifice of Washington. During the ceremony, Washington’s wife Debbie Washington talked eloquently about her husband’s service and how Vietnam War-era veterans hid their service when they returned home as the national atmosphere at that time treated veterans poorly and with scorn.
Many generations of Washington’s family and a large number of community members turned out to recognize Washington. After prodding from the audience and his wife, Washington spoke briefly and said he was “overwhelmed with the attention but so pleased that veterans from all wars were being honored by the community.” As he choked back his emotions, he went on to say that “it is never too late to honor and recognize all our veterans and he was so grateful to all who were hosting these monthly events.”
Riverton Grange event chair Dave Roberts served as Master of Ceremonies and said that “for 113 years Riverton Grange has been serving the community and this new initiative to honor our veterans is so timely and important to ensure that current and future generations don’t forget the sacrifices of those men and women who wore the uniform to allow us to live freely today.” Connecticut State Representative Mark Anderson led the 65+ audience members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and thanked Washington and all veterans for their service. Anderson himself is a veteran and member of the American Legion in Granby.
The next Veteran of the Month ceremony will be held at 6:00 PM on Sunday, September 5th at the Barkhamsted Senior Center at 109 West River Road. If you know of a veteran who you would like the community to recognize, please contact Community Services Chair Dave Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-775-9241.
Photos by Dave Roberts