Ayotte honors veterans, their families and cadets at annual gathering
"Every generation has stepped forward and served this country," said Ayotte. "We only enjoy freedom because of the sacrifices of the men and women of this great country."
"It's also important that we recognize the families of those who served," said Ayotte, whose husband served in Iraq. "You have served our nation. When a loved one serves, you serve as well."
"Let's say a prayer for them to come home safely and as soon as possible," said Ayotte.
Navy veteran Herb Billingsley was warmly greeted by Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Billotta, and Army veteran Tony Bruno said the day is a good chance to catch up with friends no matter what branch of the military they served in.
After speaking in Derry, Ayotte visited members of the Sea Cadets at the U.S. Naval Reserve Center in Londonderry.
The Sea Cadets are an organization for young people between 10 and 18 based on core Naval values of discipline, leadership, and respect, according to Lt. Commander John Murphy.
"It's an honor to see the future leaders of the country," she said.
Murphy noted that the Sea Cadets are under no requirement to join the military when they complete their service, but said all the cadets benefit no matter what they do.