Residents of all ages spent Monday - from the schools to the Veterans Memorial along the Riverwalk to BIC Corp. headquarters - honoring military veterans from in and around Shelton.

Veterans Day celebrations began Monday in the schools, with breakfasts and assemblies in which students honored those men and women who served in the military, whether Army, Navy, Marine Corps Air Force or Coast Guard.

Some students were joined by relatives who serviced, while others had photos of their loved one for all to see. Assemblies featured words of praise for those who have served and serve today.

From there, residents gathered at the Veterans Memorial at an annual event sponsored by the Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16. There Mayor Mark Lauretti read a special proclamation before Legion members presented arms and a time of silence was held to remember those veterans who have died.

The Veterans Day service concluded with a poem read by Mark Hopco, whose father, John, a Marine Corps veteran, died in May.

“I read this today out of respect ... out of appreciation for all the sacrifices these men and women have made for all is us,” said Hopco, who enjoys penning patriotic poems. “I felt this was the right time to let veterans know we are thinking about them all the time. They need to be acknowledged for all they have done to protect us and ensure our freedom and way of life.”

Across the city, BIC Corp. honored local heroes at its annual Veteran’s Day luncheon at the company’s Shelton-based North America headquarters.

The event welcomed 20 military veterans from the Shelton Senior Center as well as BIC team members and their family members who have served. The event was hosted by BIC’s CEO Gonzalve Bich and BIC’s North America General Manager Mary Fox. The 20 men from the senior center earned the meal by winning the raffle held during the Shelton Senior Center’s Veterans Day luncheon on Friday, Nov. 8.

“It’s an honor to have this group of veterans in attendance,” said Bich. “On behalf of myself and the BIC organization, I would like to extend a personal thank you for your commitment and service.”

Bich said BIC has donated more than $1.5 million to the USO, which provides everything from educational opportunities to entertainment experiences for more than three million active duty members and their families.

“It’s one way we at BIC can show our gratitude in a way that helps improve the lives of veterans and their loved ones,” added Bich.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com