FAIRFIELD — The town honored those who’ve fought for the United States at its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Monday.

The ceremony, held at the Town Green Veterans Memorial Honor Wall, featured comments from veterans as well as elected officials, including First Selectman Mike Tetreau, First Selectman-elect Brenda Kupchick, Selectman-elect Nancy Lefkowitz, Town Clerk Betsy Browne, State Sen. Tony Hwang and State Reps. Laura Devlin and Cristin McCarthy Vahey.

Vahey gave particularly moving remarks about her own family’s connection to military service. Her father, Vietnam War veteran Justin McCarthy, was present for the ceremony.

“I am so grateful that today all of you are here, and most of all I am so grateful to all of you who have served us,” she said. “I want to thank all of you for coming out today to honor our veterans, and I especially want to thank my dad.”

Tetreau, who lost his First Selectman seat to Kupchick on Election Day, spoke about the debt we owe to veterans for maintaining the American democratic system.

“One of the most important rights that our veterans fought for and sacrificed for was our right to choose our leaders,” Tetreau said. “And we’re here acknowledging that we’ve just had a peaceful transition from one leader to another, yet sometimes we take that for granted.”

Veterans in attendance, dressed in their service uniforms, came up to speak about what the day means to them.

The ceremony’s leaders also invited veterans to join the American Legion, which now allows any veteran who has served since Dec. 7, 1941 to join the organization.

While previously only veterans who had served during wartime could join, a law signed on July 30 declared that the United States has been in a state of war since the attack on Pearl Harbor — making all those who’ve served since then eligible for membership.

Last week, the Kiwanis Club of Fairfield also created a “Field of Valor” memorial, displaying United States flags in Jennings Park in honor of Veterans Day. The event raised money for Homes for the Brave, a Bridgeport organization that provides housing, training and services to veterans experiencing homelessness.

rscharf@hearstmediact.com