Four dozen people ranging in age from their early 20s to their 90s gathered in Scoville Park Friday morning to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of America’s men and women in uniform on Veteran’s Day. After William Koukos of Post 105 led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, Rev. Robert Cross of Ascension Church gave the invocation.

Following the singing of “God Bless America,” Fay Kutz and Elaine Koukas laid wreathes on the bronze plates bearing the names of those villagers who had died in World War I.

During his benediction, Cross mentioned a dying Oak Park veteran who has likely seen his last Veteran’s Day. It was a reminder of how our country doesn’t always return the loyalty of those who have borne the burdens of service.

“Yesterday I gave the Anointing of the Sick to Charlie Matthews, who used to be here,” said Cross. “A veteran, and he couldn’t get into the hospital. But his wife is taking care of him.”

“Bless us in your service Lord,” Cross then prayed. “Bless the leaders of our country to make wise decisions for our country. Bless those who work for peace and justice. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us.”

Reading from “America the Beautiful,” Cross said, “America, America, God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul, in self-control, thy liberty in law.”

“America, America, God shed his grace on thee. And crowned thy good, with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”

After the cracks of the rifle honor guard faded away, Koukas concluded the ceremony by leading the assemblage in a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“Bill Dwyer

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