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.”