Last winter, when Susan Forstrom Michaud's father, Navy veteran Milton E. Forstrom, had health problems, they discovered that for some reason he was no longer receiving his veteran's benefits.

Michaud began to dig into the problem, and was directed to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes' office. "We were able to secure a lot of his records from St. Louis," Michaud said, and also discovered something else -- medals awarded to her father, who served in World War II, that he never received.

Not only has her 88-year-old father been re-admitted to the Veterans Administration benefits system, he has those medals, which were presented to him by Himes at Tuesday's Veterans Day ceremonies at the Town Honor Roll.

Forstrom offered brief "thank you's," during the observance, but when the ceremony ended he was inspecting the medals with an old buddy, Ken Dalling. The two grew up together in Fairfield, playing football at Gould Manor. While in Shanghai during the war, Forstrom ran into Dalling. "He did a double take," Forstrom said.

Sylvie Papageorge's military service was more recent than Forstrom's -- she served in the Army in Afghanistan. She was on hand with her 10-year-old daughter, Chloe. Chloe's art class at McKinley School had made a poster with 100 red poppies to recognize the 100th anniversary of World War I's start to commemorate this Veterans Day.

"We have a family history" of military service, Papageorge said. "My grandfather and two great-uncles were in World War II." Papageorge said she carried out a lot of humanitarian missions while stationed in Afghanistan, bringing medical supplies to a local hospital.

She said she thinks it is important for Chloe to see veterans being honored for their service, and let her know she's "not the only military kid out there."

And, Papageorge said, it's important for the older veterans to see the community turn out in their honor. "They really paved the way," she said.

After church bells around Tow Hall Green tolled the 11 o'clock hour, the ceremony got underway, led by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9427 Commander Joseph Bender. He said the observance pays tribute to the 650,000 Americans who have died in war, the 1.4 million wounded and the 25 million veterans still living today.

First Selectman Michael Tetreau offered thanks on behalf of the town, noting that veterans "lived and served by the values of honor, duty and country"' and Probate Court Judge Daniel Caruso said it gave him "great joy" to see the good-sized crowd that had assembled at Town Hall Green for the ceremony.

In that crowd, with a homemade banner, were John and June Ward, 9 and 6 years old, and their mother, Andrea Ward.

"We want to let them know we appreciate what they have done for our country and we'll never forget," Ward said, adding she brought her children to the event so they would know there is a reason behind their day off from school.

Thomas Quinn, commander of American Legion Post 143, said veterans visited five of the town's elementary schools to explain Veterans Day and why it is observed.

"It was fun," he said, "and it is something very poignant that they'll remember."

A military vet's biggest fear, Quinn said, "is that all will forget. That's why this is so important. We paid a price we were willing to pay and would do it again, but please, don't forget us."