ROCKLAND — As the number of veterans dwindles, particularly from World War II, officials reminded the community of the sacrifices they made to preserve the peace and freedom.

American Legion Post 1 recognized veterans Friday, Nov. 11, in the Veterans Day program held at Winslow-Holbrook Memorial Park on the intersection of Park Drive and Main Street.

Post Commander Russell Wolfertz talked about the service and how on their return home, veterans served their communities.

Second Vice Commander Dave Sulin gave the keynote speech. He pointed out that nearly a quarter of the veterans are ages 65 to 74 years old and more than 42 percent are 75 years old or older. He noted the post lost two of its members in a little more than a month. Keith Alley died last Saturday and a little more than a month ago, past Post Commander Shawn Driscoll died.

“I sincerely hope that our little ceremony today does both of these veterans the degree of honor they deserve,” Sulin said.

Sulin said that the importance of Veterans Day is slipping from people’s minds. He noted that the U.S. Post Office building in Rockland was not flying a flag on the holiday, and also that even though politicians talk about supporting veterans, only one public official was in attendance. Councilor Nate Davis was at the ceremony.

Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble performed a variety of patriotic songs, including the songs for the various branches of the military.

Post Chaplain Sharon Heine offered an opening and closing prayer.

Naomi Leach, the great-great-grandniece of Lt. Albert Holbrook, placed a wreath at the monument in the park. The park is named after Lt. Holbrook and Arthur Winslow, the first two men from Rockland to sign up and die in World War I.

According to a news account of the June 1918 battle in France, Lt. Holbrook led a platoon into “murderous machine gun and artillery fire” in an attempt to take out a German machine gun encampment. He was reported missing in action after the firefight.

There was no word of his whereabouts until September, when the family received a telegram from the military that the 23-year-old Rockland native had died in a German prison camp. Later information would reveal that he died in a French Catholic hospital that was under German control in Fismes, northeast of Paris.

Gaye Best, left, and Naomi Leach, the great-great grand niece of Albert Holbrook, placed a wreath at the monument in the park. Photo by Stephen Betts

Dave Allwood plays “Taps” at the Rockland Veterans Day ceremony, accompanied by Chris Blum. Photo by Stephen Betts

Girl Scout Troop 1072 and their leader Leanna Spear attended the ceremony. Photo by Stephen Betts

The Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble, led by Marlene Hall, performed musical numbers. Photo by Stephen Betts

Color Guard members Gary Gamage and Carroll Gifford. Photo by Stephen Betts

Second Vice Commander Dave Sulin spoke at the ceremony. Photo by Stephen Betts

American Legion Post First Vice President Raye Thompkins spoke at the ceremony. Photo by Stephen Betts

Community members gathered for the ceremony. Photo by Stephen Betts