Veterans Are Front And Center Again At Ceremony

By: Ed Maroney }, Barry Donahue

Topics: Veterans

Former selectman and Navy veteran Jon Fuller saluted the flag. He shared his story of service and encouraged everyone to invite other veterans to share theirs.  BARRY DONAHUE PHOTOS

ORLEANS — Tales of service and sacrifice were shared at the town’s Veterans Day observance Monday. The audience of about 100 learned that National Anthem singer Hannah Novotny’s grandfather served in World War II, that former selectman and Navy veteran Jon Fuller’s vessel was on the gunline in North Vietnam, that middle school band director Megan Anthony’s family feared that her younger brother’s Black Hawk helicopter had crashed in Afghanistan (fortunately, it hadn’t).

The ties between soldiers and their families and friends were highlighted. Ron Conte stepped forward to speak of his experience during the Vietnam War as the oldest (at 22) member of his Army company in training. When orders were cut for deployment, he somehow wound up in Fort Lee, Va., while the rest of his company, mostly 17- and 18-year-olds fresh out of high school, was shipped to Vietnam. Later, he learned that 43 out of the 79 that went over died.

“We fight for freedom in this country,” Conte said. “When you see a vet, ask his story.”

A silent tribute to veterans in stone at Academy Place.

A silent tribute to veterans in stone at Academy Place.

Marine Paul Kelly stands tall at the Veterans Day ceremony

Marine Paul Kelly stands tall at the Veterans Day ceremony

Retired police lieutenant Kevin Higgins, the master of ceremonies, attended in civilian garb.

Retired police lieutenant Kevin Higgins, the master of ceremonies, attended in civilian garb.

Asked to raise their hands, veterans at the ceremony answered the call.

Asked to raise their hands, veterans at the ceremony answered the call.

The Nauset Regional Middle School Band provided stirring renditions of familiar songs.

The Nauset Regional Middle School Band provided stirring renditions of familiar songs.

Veteran Ron Conte shared his story of service in the Vietnam War era.

Veteran Ron Conte shared his story of service in the Vietnam War era.

A crisp salute honored the town’s veterans.

A crisp salute honored the town’s veterans.

Helen Berger rose from her seat for the National Anthem. Her late husband Richard’s service, as a Navy pilot, is remembered on the town’s World War II monument. She was at the Monday's ceremony with her great-grandchildren and will celebrate her 100th birthday with family this month.

Helen Berger rose from her seat for the National Anthem. Her late husband Richard’s service, as a Navy pilot, is remembered on the town’s World War II monument. She was at the Monday's ceremony with her great-grandchildren and will celebrate her 100th birthday with family this month.