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A day of remembrance

There's a sense of camaraderie. They sit, visit and reminisce. Stories are told, memories are recapped and friendships are rekindled.

This is what Veterans Day is about for many of the United States' military personnel, past and present.

"Even at 80 and 90, they're still talking about what ship they were on," said Unit 188 American Legion Auxiliary President Alice Bigelow during the Liverpool Post's annual open house on Thursday, an event she initiated more than 10 years ago.

Post 188 American Legion Commander Ken Palmer, retired Army sergeant first class, said the open house was started "to show appreciation to our veterans and to our current military personnel. A lot of our veterans that show up today can't make the meetings."

Many members of the Post are elderly and have trouble getting around, but they make a point of coming out on days like Veterans Day to celebrate together the time they gave to the military.

Twice a year, days are reserved to honor those who have sacrificed for their country - Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The latter, Bigelow said, is more for the living veterans.

"I can look Ken in the face and say, 'thank you,'" she said, grabbing Palmer's cheeks.

The open house at Post 188, put on each year by members of the Auxiliary, not only provided service members with a "thank you." It offered a warm meal, good music and great conversation.

"It's a time to pay tribute to the living veterans, those past and serving today," said retired Army Master Sgt. Shawn Singleton, 44, of Liverpool.

Singleton attended the open house with his son, Nathaniel, 5, who proudly held a miniature version of the American flag when getting his picture taken.

An emotional day for those who have served, Palmer is humbled on Veterans Day and has great respect for servicemen and women who have served as he has, particularly for fallen comrades, those who have been buried on home soil and in cemeteries overseas.

"[It's] a time to remember them. They paid their price for our country," he said.

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