Easton and Monroe’s traditional Veterans Day ceremony carried on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.. on the Stepney Green as in past years but with less community participation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Donald Rodgerson, commander of American Legion Charles L. Ruman Post 160 in Easton, and Victor Yanosy, commander of American Legion Sippin-Winspur Post 176 in Monroe officiated. Rodgerson and Yanosy were drill sergeants together in the U.S. Army Reserves. They commemorated war veterans and military service members from all United States armed forces, past and present.
The Rev. Kevin Merritt, senior pastor and minister of outreach and discipleship at Stepney Baptist Church, delivered the opening prayer. The Rev. Adan Rodriguez of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel also led the veterans and guests in prayer.
“On this day, Nov. 11, over 100 years ago, President Wilson signed a proclamation designating this day, Nov. 11, to reflect the heroism of those who died in the country’s services,” Rodgerson said in his remarks. “One hometown vet to remember is a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps who became missing in action during World War II and declared dead in October 1943.”
An Easton native, the veteran Rodgerson spoke of was the recipient of many honors including an air medal awarded for acts of heroism during flight and a Purple Heart awarded to those wounded or killed as a result of enemy action while serving in the military.
“This second lieutenant’s name is Lt. Charles L. Ruman,” Rodgerson said. “The Easton American Legion Post 160 is named after him. Thank you all for coming to honor all of our vets.”
Yanosy said, “The Sippin-Winspur Post is named after two veterans killed during World War I. David Winspur was a Marine killed in Okinawa, and Victor Sippin was in the Navy over in France, and his PT boat hit a mine. Victor Sippin was my uncle, and I am named after him. My grandmother was a Gold Star recipient because her son was killed. I had the tradition going all the way back, and I felt I had to keep things going.”
Veteran Tom Coyle of Easton was among those who attended the ceremony. “Veterans Day is a very special day for all of us! I come from a family with a strong military background,” he said. “My grandfather in World War I, my father in World War II. I served during the Vietnam Era and flew helicopters. My roommate is now the chief of staff of the Army, General McConville. We had a great time flying together, and this is a special day because we have to remember all the people who sacrificed. ”
Easton First Selectman David Bindelglass and Monroe First Selectman Kenneth Kellogg participated with veterans and Auxiliary members from both towns. The presentation of wreaths was made by a contingent from Post 176 and the Monroe Lions Club.
“We were all sorry that the ceremony was diminished from the norm due to Covid-19 but the spirit was not,” Bindelglass said. “This Veterans Day I noted that our bonds as Americans were greater than our differences. We all value our American way of life which would never have been possible without the ultimate sacrifice made by so many veterans to preserve it and the effort of those in our armed services who still defend us today.”
In years past, Easton Girl Scouts made a hearty breakfast for the veterans following the ceremony, but that tradition fell victim to the pandemic. Everyone is hoping and praying that maybe next year, things will be better.