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VFW Memorial Day Ceremony Honors Those Who Made The ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’



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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 alissa@thebee.com.

A crowd begins to gather behind the VFW sign for the Memorial Day ceremony, May 31. —Bee Photos, Silber
VFW Post 308 Commander Paul Galietti, of the United States Marine Corps, led the VFW’s well-attended outdoor Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 31.
State Representative Mitch Bolinsky, wearing a red poppy in his jacket pocket, voices his appreciation for veterans who “paid the ultimate price so that we may live free,” at the VFW Memorial Day ceremony.
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal reminds the crowd at the VFW Memorial Day ceremony how we are lucky to be Americans and that we should always reflect on the sacrifices made from those who gave their lives for us.
Veterans salute the American flag as the National Anthem plays during the VFW Post 308’s Memorial Day service.
VFW Post 308 Quartermaster Michael Mich salutes after placing a ceremonial wreath on the memorial stone on behalf of Post 308. The inscription on the stone reads, “Comrades in the silent land beyond, wherever your mortal remains may rest, there the ground is hallowed.”
Deanna Cocivi kneels to respectfully place a red flower at the memorial stone for fallen veterans.
Cathy Sauli does the honor of placing a white flower at the memorial stone during the wreath-laying portion of the Memorial Day ceremony.
Theresa Schremmer approaches the memorial stone with a blue flower in hand during the Memorial Day ceremony at the VFW.
VFW Post 308 Auxiliary President Bill Clark, far right, holds the trumpet while a recording of “Taps” plays, veterans salute, and members of the public listen respectfully.
VFW Post 308 Commander Paul Galietti holds his son, 3-year-old Paul Galietti, Jr, atop the tire of a tank display on the VFW lawn after the Memorial Day ceremony, May 31.
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