VFW Memorial Day Ceremony Honors Those Who Made The ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’
By Alissa Silber
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 308 paid tribute on Memorial Day, May 31, to members of the military who paid the ultimate sacrifice — laying down their lives to defend the freedom of the United States of America.
A large crowd of all ages gathered outside the VFW, located on Freedom Defenders Way, for the ceremony, which began at 11 am sharp.
VFW Post 308 Commander Paul Galietti, of the United States Marine Corps, welcomed those in attendance and led everyone in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
When he conducted the opening prayer, everyone bowed their heads respectfully.
A moment of silence followed, “for our departed comrades, those missing in action, and those held as prisoners of war,” Galietti said.
When the national anthem was played, all who could, stood, and members of the military saluted the flag.
State Representative Mitch Bolinsky, adorned with a red poppy in his jacket pocket, started off by saying how Memorial Day is a day like no other.
“I want to thank the veterans that are sitting in front of us here and those that came before that paid the ultimate price so that we may live free,” Bolinsky said.
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal spoke next, and his speech, too, honored “the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” as well as recognizing the veterans and active military present for their service.
“Courage knows no sex, religion, color, political party, or economic status. My friends, we are so very lucky to be Americans. There is more that unites us than divides us… we should always ground and humble ourselves by reflecting on the sacrifices made by those who gave their lives for us — not just today, but every day,” Rosenthal said.
Galietti then returned to the podium where he gave a moving, personal speech.
He said, “As a reminder, today’s ceremony is in honor of the men and women who died defending our freedom. Most of them were teenagers, fresh out of high school, and suddenly in a theater of war. Think about that for a moment. Many of them never even drove a car, had children, or even a relationship.
“They’ll never see their friends. They’ll never hug their mother. They’ll never see their brothers or sisters. They will never experience of feeling of coming home. Sadly, they’ll never come home. Their loved ones will miss them for the rest of their own lives. Their spot at the dinner table will always be empty. Tragically their young, precious lives were violently ended.
“War is unexplainable to those who have not experienced it. They can’t replicate it in movies. They can’t show you what it is not to shower for two months at a time. They can’t replicate the stench. They can’t replicate time standing still. They can’t infuse you with sleep deprivation. And above all, no one will ever know the unbreakable bond between servicemen in combat. Now they are gone, and we only have their memories to remind us of them.
“Let us keep some of these things I just shared with you in mind every Memorial Day. As they look down upon us from the afterlife, I pray they realize how much love and respect we have for them. And somehow, we make them proud in the way we conduct ourselves. May they all rest in eternal peace.”
Galietti ended his tribute with a moment of silence for all those who never had the opportunity to come home.
For the ceremonial wreath-laying for fallen military, VFW Post 308 Quartermaster Michael Mich presented the wreath.
Then Deanna Cocivi laid a red flower symbolizing devotion, Cathy Sauli laid a white flower symbolizing purity, and Theresa Schremmer laid a blue flower symbolizing eternity of life everlasting.
VFW Post 308 Auxiliary President Bill Clark then played a recording of “Taps,” concluding the Memorial Day ceremony.
Everyone was invited to enjoy complimentary coffee and refreshments in the VFW’s canteen.
Alissa Silber can be contacted at email@example.com.