Over 150 of the City’s bravest men and women were honored Saturday as the City held a Veteran’s Medal Ceremony for the first time in over 30 years.
“I would like to thank all veterans for your service,” said Mayor Erin E. Stewart, who was the MC for the event. “Our Country and our community is stronger because of your dedication and courage.”
New Britain is home to over 10 veteran organizations and over 4,000 veterans.
“You have all played a significant role in making our country safe,” said Stewart. “It is my humble honor to recognize each veteran here today for their service and dedication to our nation. Your courageousness and spirit has inspired us.”
Those from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, the Global War on Terror and during peace times were in attendance and honored. There were 13 World War II veterans in attendance.
The idea for a City veterans medal ceremony was brought to the Mayor’s attention in December of 2015 when she received a letter from a veteran of the City with a sample of a medal the City gave him decades ago.
“He said the medal meant so much to him and he really felt appreciated by the City. We decided to come together and find an appropriate way to celebrate the service and dedication of the men and women who served in the armed forces,” said Mayor Stewart.
Members of the New Britain High School Madrigal singers sang the National Anthem and New Britain High School members performed taps.
Peter Scirpo, chairman of the New Britain Veterans Commission, introduced Brigadier General Francis J. Evon Jr., assistant Adjutant General-CT Army National Guard who was the keynote speaker.
“It’s easy to recognize our veterans and service members who are visible due to our ongoing operation overseas, however the majority of the veterans we honor today are no longer actively serving in the military uniform. Many have gone on to be our teachers, police officers, firemen and neighbors,” said Evon. “American veterans are some of our nation’s bravest and hardest working men and women, however it is hard to show them appreciation they deserve when back at home and out of uniform they are more camouflaged than ever.”
Evon continued, “Today we are here to formally recognize your service. Today the City of New Britain pauses to salute you and thank you for your sacrifices. Whether you are a veteran today or decades ago, veterans represent an unwavering dedication and exemplify the highest ideal for our nation.”
“Pres. John F. Kennedy put it best ‘a nation reveals itself not only by the men and women it produces, but also by the men and women it honors’,” concluded Evon. “Today is a day to honor. Thank you for all you’ve done for our nation and state.”
Presenting the medals were Mayor Stewart and New Britain Veterans Commission members Scirpo, John Buckley, Virginia Gagliardi, Christian Gutierrez, Daniel Lutty, Luis Orriola, Joseph Rapisarda and Mona Starczewski.
Marine Corps League of the Hardware City Detachment performed the ceremonial volley and the retiring of colors.
Father Israel River of St. Joachim Parish performed the invocation and Pastor Thomas Mills of Grace Church said the benediction.