City holds annual program honoring veterans

by Laura Bednar

In honor of Veterans Day, Independence held a program and lunch on Nov. 4 to recognize those who have served.

During the program, former Independence resident Lt. Vincent Variglotti spoke about his experiences serving in the U.S. Navy. He moved to Independence in 1989 and graduated form Independence High School in 1997. He was commissioned to the Navy in 2001 and said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks set the tone for his service. Variglotti also reminded veterans experiencing PTSD, or any other issues following their service, of the resources available to them.

Alex Kunevicius, former staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and Independence resident, was supposed to speak at the event, but passed away the day before. He was 103 years old and raised his family in Independence with his wife of 73 years, Freda. He met her while stationed in Cleveland in 1945. Eleven members of his family attended the celebration, some travelling from other states including California, Tennessee and Florida. Each veteran in attendance was given a military challenge coin in recognition of his or her service. All attendees enjoyed patriotic and military music and Vodrazka Funeral Home provided lunch from Mission BBQ.

Lt. Vincent Variglotti, a seven-year Navy
veteran, spoke about his experiences in the
service. Photos by Laura Bednar.
Several military items were displayed, including
a tribute to WWII veteran Ed Sovol.
Veterans program attendees (l-r) Jean Klina, Cindy Klesper, Allen Klesper, Lou Gazo, Dan Konfal and Dan Liptak.