The ranks of the nation's aging veterans are thinning, James Bender told the crowd gathered Monday in front of the town's Honor Roll to mark Veterans Day.

"But even if you did not serve, you probably have a member of your family who did," said Bender, an Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam area and is now a member of both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "We are all in this thing together, and we have to support our troops in harm's way serving today."

The shared hope, he said, is that some day, there will be no more war. "That's what we're hoping and praying for."

The ceremony staged at the Town Hall Green monument that lists the names of Fairfield's military veterans drew a larger crowd than in the past few years, a factor perhaps attributable to the mild weather or that there are still U.S. military forces fighting in Afghanistan after a decade.

"Our hearts beat in time with those in other nations fighting for freedom," said Thomas Quinn, commander of American Legion Post 143. The constant quest for "honorable world peace," he said, needs a unity of purpose.

He urged the audience to remember the men and women who have been serving their country in Afghanistan for the last eight or nine years.

It is the Afghanistan war that is close to First Selectman Michael Tetreau's heart.

"My brother has been serving in Afghanistan," Tetreau said. "He left on Sunday and is on a layover in Kuwait, but he is on his way home. I know how important that is to my family, to have him home for Thanksgiving ... I think we need that for everyone."

The ceremony at the Honor Roll was preceded by service at St. Pius X Church and a coffee reception at American Legion Post 74.

After the brief Town Hall Green remarks, the Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a reception at the Old Academy, where two rows of Boy Scouts from Troop 10 greeted visitors as they walked into the building.; 202-556-2771;