Riverton Grange hosts a monthly Veterans Ceremony

BARKHAMSTED – Members of the Riverton Grange #169 recently held their ninth monthly Veterans Salute, honoring February Veteran of the Month, World War I and Mexican Border War veteran Frank J. Anstett.

The group also removed the flag of its Veteran of the Month for January, World War II veteran Evert M. Johnson.

The barn began holding monthly veteran salute ceremonies in July 2021 on the recommendation of American Legion national committee member Joe Jackson of New Hartford, and attendance has increased steadily each month, members said.

Riverton Grange President Dave Roberts said, “Tonight marked the first time we honored a Mexican Border War veteran and member of the Connecticut National Guard. This ceremony was particularly meaningful to me since the person honored was the late grandfather of Riverton Grange lecturer Raine Anstett Pedersen.

According to Roberts, the late Corporal Frank J. Anstett enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard on June 19, 1916, at the age of 18. It was deployed as part of the Mexican Border Mobilization (Mexican Border War) at Nogales, Arizona, from June to October 1916. The Mexican Border War was the fifth war fought on American soil and resulted from Imperial Germany convincing the Mexico from invading the United States during World War I. Arizona had only become a state 4 years earlier when Private Anstett was deployed and at that time was earning only 60 cents a day.

The purpose of the deployment was to track down and capture Pancho Villa. Anstett was then drafted for World War I and served in the legendary 26th (Yankee) Division of the American Expeditionary Forces commanded by General John J. Pershing. He was promoted to corporal on Sept. 7, 1918, and served in France, according to Roberts. He was wounded in action on the last day of the war on November 11, 1918; left France on April 23, 1919; and was discharged from the National Guard on May 17, 1919. His granddaughter, Raine Anstett Pedersen, spoke eloquently of her late grandfather, his service in two wars, and introduced all of his loved ones present at the ceremony who traveled from New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Anstett’s daughter was also present at the ceremony.

The ceremonies are held in partnership with the Riverton American Legion Post #159 Color Guard, Barkhamsted First Selectman Don Stein, singer Lorraine Paul, the Barkhamsted Senior Center, and the Barkhamsted and Northwestern CT Cyber ​​Lions Clubs. The Royal Coachman Tavern at the Old Riverton Inn covered the costs for the first year of the programme.

On the first Sunday of each month, a new area veteran is selected to be honored and an American flag flies for a month in honor of the veteran or their family. The following month, the veteran or their family receives the American flag, a ghost box to display it, and a certificate of appreciation signed by the president of the National Grange.

To nominate a veteran, living or deceased, contact Riverton Grange President Dave Roberts at 858-775-9241 or dave@daveroberts.org.

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