Veterans Day in Littleton: Celebrating those who've served

Residents, decorated Army members gather at Littleton Veterans Day event

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A current of cool air blew through the crowd as they gathered at the Littleton World War II memorial on Veterans Day. Some looked upwards, just below the bright late morning sun, to see the American flag flapping in the wind.
 
Soon they put their right hand over their heart for a moment of silence to remember those who served, and died, in the U.S. armed forces. 
 
Residents from across Littleton turned out the morning of Nov. 11 to commemorate veterans. Attendees in everyday clothes stood side by side with decorated members of the U.S. Marines, Air Force and Navy as they joined in celebration of military lives. 
 
The event was sponsored by the Veterans Of Foreign Wars' Pat Hannon Post in Littleton. 
 
“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I was brought to an end. On Armistice Day, or as we know it, Veterans Day, the people of the United States pay honor to the brave men and women who have served our armed forces,” said Littleton Mayor Jerry Valdes, a keynote speaker during the event. “To the veterans of the United States of America, thank you for your service.” 
 
Al Rodriguez, commander of the executive board for the American Legion, said Veterans Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the military. 
 
“As I look out into the audience, I see people of various races, various colors, male and female,” he said. “I'm reminded that the military is one of the most diverse organizations in the country and the military has taken every one of us to make this country who we are.”
 
Rodriguez reminded the crowd of the service of people of color throughout the military's history. That includes Native Americans, who have served with distinction in every major conflict for the past 200 years as well as Japanese-Americans who proved integral to the U.S.'s efforts during World War II, he said. 
 
“I could go on,” Rodriguez said. “But my point … is every honorably discharged veteran has played an important role in this country's history and to the freedoms that we all have today, regardless of rank, branch, ethnicity or gender. You are all important veterans."

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