Veterans Day gives Anthony Stabile a day to remember all of the friends that he served his country with for the past 67 years.

Stabile, 85, of West York, was the master of ceremonies at the Veterans Day program attended by more than 1,100 people Sunday at the York Fairgrounds.

"I wanted to help preserve our country," said Stabile, a retired captain with the United States Marine Corps who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Today there seem to be more conflicts than ever and closer together, said Stabile. He hopes that the younger veterans will reach out to the older generations.

We are here to help the younger veterans, Stabile said.

The program featured a buffet breakfast and music by the William Penn Junior ROTC, the Kiltie Band of York and the Central York Middle School Fife and Drum Corps.

The Veteran's Meritorious Service Award was given to Frank Davilla, who served in the Korean War and continues to be actively involved in public service and volunteerism in the community.

"His level of service was far and away from the other nominees," said Philip Palandro, director of York County Veteran Affairs, who organized the event.

"There is nothing we enjoy today as Americans that is not a direct result of veterans," Palandro said.

Retired Col. David Smoker gave the Veterans Day address, reminding the audience of Plato's words that "only the dead have seen the end of war."

Smoker told the story of his father serving in the military and meeting his mother in England.

"I could honestly say I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for B-17s and World War II," he said.

His father, Frank Smoker Jr., was one of the original members of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in 1947 and founded the Pennsylvania National Guard Museum at Fort Indiantown Gap.

Exactly 22 years ago on Sunday, Smoker began his own journey to Saudi Arabia to serve in the Persian Gulf War.

Patriotic veterans help to maintain a strong America, he said.

Irving Collier, 68, of York City, served in Vietnam and is now involved at the White Rose VFW.

"I'd like to have seen some of the younger veterans today and let them know we are here for them," said Collier. "Everyone thinks the VFW is for drinking and cheap food, but that's not why we're there."

The camaraderie of a fellow veteran is hard to come across anywhere else, he said.

It's the American people and the way we stand united that make America the great country that it is, Collier said.

- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or