More than a hundred people turned out to honor the nation’s veterans and those who are still serving our country at a solemn Veterans Day ceremony hosted by Hellertown American Legion Post 397 at Union Cemetery in Hellertown Saturday.
The weather was unusually cold for the annual event, but it didn’t damper anyone’s enthusiasm for paying tribute to all those who have sacrificed to defend America, often in weather conditions much more extreme than those on Saturday morning.
The ceremony was led by Legion Commander Eric Medei, and featured a keynote address by Sgt. Jason Lesser, a Saucon Valley graduate and former Army Ranger who recalled his experiences serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Lesser, of Hellertown, is now a husband, father and air traffic controller at Lehigh Valley International Airport.
He told a rapt audience riveting story about a close call he experienced on a mission, when he ran into problems during a parachute jump.
Hellertown mayor Richard Fluck also addressed attendees and reminded them to thank veterans for their service–not just on Veterans Day, but year-round.
Fluck is a Korean War veteran and nearly at the end of his fifth term as mayor.
Other highlights of the ceremony included an a capella rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner by Adrienne King and Bella Henninger, patriotic music performed by the Saucon Valley High School Band, the placement of a floral wreath on the veterans memorial by President of the Legion’s Ladies Auxiliary Connie Quier and a military salute by the Legion firing squad (led by Commander John Mulholland).
Post 397 Chaplain Robert Edwards led the service in prayer and delivered the benediction at the ceremony.
The Legion firing squad members are John Mulholland, Geoff Baer, Fred Giordano, Jack Davco, Regina Fleissner, Bill Sysak, Jason Shafer, John Higginbotham, Glenn Quier and Dave Pearson.
Current Legion officers are Commander Eric Medei, 1st Vice Commander Geoff Baer, 2nd Vice Commander Tom Tierney, Adjutant John Mulholland, Finance Officer Kim Medei, 2nd Finance Officer Chris Nolf, Chaplain Robert Edwards, Judge Advocate/Service Officer Filiciano Rodriguez, 1st Sergeant at Arms William Sysak, 2nd Sergeant at Arms Brian Sysak and 3rd Sergeant at Arms Glenn Zimpfer.
Photos by Chris Christian