People across the nation took time Monday to honor veterans who died for their country. Those remembrances took the form of small gatherings, prayers said at cemeteries — and, for two Saratoga Springs High School seniors, an extended march.
Jack Trimmings and Vincent Sablich, Wilton residents who live in the same neighborhood, took part in a 20-mile walk with more than 40 pounds in their backpacks as their way to pay tribute to veterans who lost their lives.
“There’s not much of a greater cause than to remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Trimmings said.
The two friends started off at 8 a.m. and finished back at home at 4 p.m.
“It was really amazing to be able to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and go on a journey with my brother, Jack,” Sablich said. “It was tiring, I won’t lie. It was a tough 20 miles, especially at the end, but it was 100 percent worth it.”
Both teenagers are part of the ROTC program through Saratoga Springs High School, but they have different military pursuits.
“Throughout high school, I always considered [Army] ROTC and saw it as a good option for me,” Sablich said. “The past year, I felt a calling toward it and seemed like a good fit for me, something I felt I could excel at and be a great career-booster while also allowing me to serve my country.”
Sablich will attend Boston College next fall as an international studies major.
“My uncle, Ben Salazar, a retired Navy Commander, he was always a big role model for me growing up. Seeing him in his dress whites, he looked really sharp,” Trimmings said. “We always talked about service and I was brought up in a household that emphasized service and serving others. From a young age, I thought I would perform well in the military and I thought the Navy was the best option for me.”`
Trimmings will attend Penn State in the fall as a history major with an eye at applying to the U.S. Naval Academy.
During Monday’s 20-mile trek, he carried a U.S. flag with him.
“For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working at a moving company,” Trimmings said. “I was looking forward to the weekend, but I knew that Monday was going to be something special because it was Memorial Day. I just thought of this crazy, extreme thing to push us physically and mentally. I thought it would be a good exercise and a way to honor those who came before us who gave us this day off.”
The response from onlookers surprised the pair.
“I knew we would get a few honks, see a couple veterans along the way; they would show their support,” Trimmings said. “Once we got [back] to the neighborhood, half the neighborhood was out there clapping for us. It was a great way to end the last little mile stretch that we had, and it was a good incentive to keep pushing.”
Reach Stan Hudy at [email protected] or @StanHudy on Twitter.