This year's Veterans Day ceremony drew a record crowd of people to the town common–around 100 residents, veterans, town officials, community leaders and families.
"The public is coming out more," said Louis Cimaglia, Veteran's Agent for the town and Board of Selectmen chairman, who sported a POW/MIA tie. "These passed few years it's been getting bigger and bigger."
The Wilmington Police led the ceremonial walk around the town common veteran memorial as members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Board of Selectmen, town leaders, state officials and the Boy Scouts followed. The Wilmington High School band played the National Anthem as the flag was raised into the sunny sky. Cimaglia, himself a veteran, led the ceremony from a podium in front of the memorial.
"Thank you for your quiet service, your exemplary service," said Cimaglia to the veterans. "You are serving for a cause greater than one's self...and no one service in history has done greater good."
Among others who spoke and thanked our veterans were newly re-elected State House Representative James Miceli as well as State Senator Bruce Tarr. National Sergeant-at-Arms for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Bryan P. O'Brien also spoke.
"To the 25 million veterans in this country...it's with great gratitude we remember their heroic accomplishments," he said. "We remember those that gave their lives, because they gave two lives: the ones they lived and the ones they would have lived. We remember and honor them."
Amongst the many in the crowd was Edward Bradbury, former Wilmington High School teacher and a veteran of World War II. Bradbury never had a ceremony upon receiving his Bronze Star Medal, one of the highest combat-award medals given in the U.S. Armed Forces.
"I think it was mailed to him or something," said Cimaglia.
Today, Cimaglia pinned the medal onto Bradbury, 86, as he stood holding on to his wife Myrtle for support.
"To be honest, he never talks about it," said Bradbury's son Wilmington Police Sgt. David Bradbury about why his father received the medal. "He didn't even know if he was going to do this until today."
While Bradbury may not be open about the heroic acts of his past, he let his emotions show when he shed more than one tear while helping place the 2010 commemorative wreath at the town's veteran monument.
"He's probably going to celebrate with something low-key like dinner with the family," said David Bradbury.
If you were not able to celebrate Veteran's Day, you have plenty of time to make up for it as the entire month of November is Military Family Appreciation Month.