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VFW, American Legion host Veterans Day ceremony
November 13, 2017

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Lehigh Acres honored those who have served on Nov. 11 at a Veterans Day ceremony.

Hosted by VFW Post 4174 and American Legion Post 323, the joint effort was held at Veterans Park and featured guest speakers from both posts and presentation of colors by local Boy Scout troops. VFW Commander Terry Daugherty, the master of ceremonies, talked about the importance of Veterans Day.

"This is a time when people across the nation can show their respect for those who have proudly served our country," he said.

Veterans Day originally derives from the armistice signed in France to end World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, according to Daugherty. It is now a day celebrated in the United States to remember all American veterans, both living and deceased.

Among some of the speakers were Andy Burkett, past southwest area commander for the Department of Florida's American Legion, and Jessica Moore, commander of American Legion Post 323.

According to Burkett, it is important to continue to work toward keeping the country safe.

"As a veteran, my priority is the safety of all families and keeping this country free," he said.

Burkett also pointed out that the two Lehigh groups are very active in fundraising.

"During one of our recent fundraisers, we raised more than $1 million dollars towards helping those in need," he said.

Moore spoke about the history behind Veterans Day and the momentous moments that have taken place during wars throughout the years. She also shared how her post tries to foster a family atmosphere.

"We celebrate Veterans Day every day at our post. We are a family post and have been that way for years," she said.

All of the branches of the U.S. military were recognized and honored.

Thomas Van Pelt, from American Legion Post 323, spoke about the heroic efforts of a local soldier, whose bravery in battle won him a Medal of Honor. The ceremony ended in a heart-felt closing prayer led by Chaplin George Becker, followed by a firing of gunshots into the air and the playing of taps.

"We are fortunate to have so many of the local patriotic groups in attendance," Dr. Bob Hewitt, the former commander of American Legion Post 323.

Following the ceremony, cookouts were held at both groups for the community.

For more information about VFW Post 4174, visit myvfw.org/fl/post4174.

For more information on American Legion Post 323, visit legionpost323.org.

VFW Post 4174 is at 25 Homestead Road S.

American Legion Post 323 is at 1124 Ashlar Ave.

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