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Veterans from LI reunite on July Fourth

Left to right: Ken Miller, 69, Nick Klemuk,

Left to right: Ken Miller, 69, Nick Klemuk, 67 and Jon Foster 69, all from Southampton. Miller and foster, both veterans, met after the holiday parade in Southampton for the first time in decades. (July 4, 2012) Credit: Ankita Rao

Ken Miller and Jon Foster went to high school together in Southampton, then went their separate ways.

But in the midst of the village's Independence Day parade, they met again after hearing each other's name being spoken -- their first encounter in 50 years.

The parade, sponsored by the Southampton Village Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events, drew several wars' veterans, including Miller and Foster, both 69. Reunited in their hometown -- where both now live -- they recalled shared experiences over a beer.

The two men talked about strolling around their childhood neighborhood during a snowy winter in the 1970s. They remembered competing on the high school track team. They learned each had served in Vietnam.

"This holiday is about getting together and remembering the guys who didn't make it home," Foster said.

Miller said the annual parade focusing on veterans "is a great experience" to "welcome home the new guys."

David Worrell, 21, of Hampton Bays, who returned to Long Island after serving in the Army last year, said the July Fourth holiday "represents everything we worked for for the past 250 years."

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