Rep. Christopher Gibson (R-Kinderhook), a veteran himself, gave a short speech praising veterans and noting how special it was to live free.
“We pray for the day that we see war no more,” said Rep. Gibson, expressing hope that the United States might enter a long period of peace after the war in Afghanistan concludes next year.
Rep. Gibson presented the WWII veterans with congressional coins, arranging later for the delivery of a coin to Wilson. He also presented the historical association with a certificate from the U.S. House of Representatives honoring the town.
“Patriotism is tied to the ideals,” Assemblyman Lopez said. “We embrace freedom, we embrace mercy, we embrace compassion, that’s who we are as an American people.”
A music minister, he then led those in attendance in a verse of “America The Beautiful.”
“Without the men and women whose names will appear in the memorial book, Middlefield might not be here,”said Otsego County Director of Veteran’s Affairs Jack Henson, USMC (Ret.), who noted that veterans from Middlefield could be traced back as far as the French and Indian War.
The monument was unveiled after Henson’s remarks, having been covered by the poncho worn in WWII by Middlefield resident Rudolph Softworth.
Cherry Valley American Legion Post 1360 dedicated the monument, while the flag ceremony was done by Milford American Legion Post 1566.
The ceremony was completed by a salute from the Cooperstown Combined Posts, a moment of silence, Taps and concluding remarks from the historical association.
“I’m honored to be here today,” said Gibson after the event.
“It’s a privilege,” Lopez said. “I feel very small next to these people (the veterans).”
“My father, my grandfather, my uncle ... (were) all in the service,” said Alan Christman, a Middlefield veteran himself, who said that this older generation of veterans inspired him to serve. “As far as for this monument, it’s a good thing.”
Christman spent 20 years in the U.S. Army, 11 in the 82nd Airborne Division and retired at the rank of First Sergeant. He has entered the information of his relatives into the veterans book.