With masks and social distance, veterans honored in Ridgefield ceremony

RIDGEFIELD — With faces covered in masks and maintaining social distance, Ridgefield honored those who served the country Wednesday with the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Lounsbury House.

The ceremonies were organized by Ridgefield American Legion Post 78, and included members of the Ridgefield Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Marine Veterans of Fairfield County.

Ridgefield Police officer Matthew Seibert, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was the keynote speaker.

“In every generation, you or someone you know, has answered the call to serve. Their service and patriotism are definitive examples of their character,” Seibert told those who’d gathered for the Veterns Day ceremony.

“When they speak of the United States of America, their Constitution which they swore to uphold, and fought to defend, they recall what this country means to them, they stand tall, and their eyes fill with emotion in remembrance of their brothers and sisters in arms whom they proudly call family. These are the individuals we honor today and they are United States Veterans.”

Looking ahead to his appearance, Seibert had recalled for The Press some lessons of his stint in Afghanistan: “I have an appreciation for the civil liberties and the freedoms and a lot of what we have in this country today from my service over there,” Seibert said. “It definitely has shaped who I am, and the person am today, and how I live my life.”

He continues to serve in the Connecticut Army National Guard in the 85th Troop Command, assisting in mission support from Tropical Storm Isaias to COVID response. He addressed this, too, in his speech.

“The United States Military, and especially the Connecticut National Guard has remained steady, ready - always there, still fighting and defending freedom,” he said.

“The National Guard’s role and the roles of all first responders have evolved rapidly over the last few years. The National Guard, whom for years had fallen into the role of supporting counter terrorism operations across the globe and assisting in security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, found themselves thrust center stage into natural disaster responses, from wildfires, to hurricanes, to wind storms that knocked power out and left travel virtually impossible in Ridgefield for days.

“And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface with the National Guard’s most important state side mission this year, supporting the Department of Public Health’s response to COVID-19,” he said. “From nursing home inspections, to test kit production and distribution, and PPE distribution support management, the State of Connecticut could not have responded as well as they did without the support of the Connecticut National Guard.”

Seibert lives in Woodbury now, with his wife Caitlin and their 1-year-old daughter Mackenzie — who presents a different sort of challenge.

Ridgefielder Evelyn Carr sang patriotic songs.

Cub Scout Pack 74 placed a wreath on the veterans memorial monument in front of Lounsbury House on Main Street, which was followed by the firing of a military honors salute and the playing of “Taps.”