It was warm and sunny when residents and military veterans gathered on Stepney Green for the 11 on 11 at 11 ceremony on Sunday morning, but the first selectmen for Monroe and Easton both recalled the rain and 60-plus mph winds that Hurricane Sandy brought to New England just two weeks ago.
Monroe First Selectman Steve Vavrek said townspeople complaining about losing their power could learn something from U.S. soldiers who fight in all kinds of harsh weather conditions, and Easton First Selectman Thomas Herrmann told the small crowd that Easton volunteer firefighter Russell Nearly losing his life in the storm reminds him of the sacrifice veterans serving overseas make every day.
"Let us always be profoundly grateful for the soldiers who sacrificed on our behalf," Herrmann said.
During the ceremony, American Legion posts from Monroe and Easton commemorated Veterans Day on the green. Tony Unger, commander of the Charles L. Ruman Post 160 in Easton, officiated the event. Victor Yanosy commands the Sippin-Winspur Post 176 in Monroe.
The Save Our Stepney Task Force placed 13 American flags on the green to commemorate its Flags Over Stepney program; and Girl Scouts of Easton served a luncheon at the Easton Senior Center to honor the veterans after the ceremony.
The Veterans Remembered Flag
On the green, Joan and George Marr of Monroe presented the Veterans Remembered Flag. It has 13 small gold stars representing the founding of the nation. A large white star indicates veterans' dedication to service, a blue star honors all who serve in the military — past, present, and future; and a gold star memorializes those who fell defending our nation. The flag's field is green to represent the hallowed ground where all rest eternally.
Connecticut is one of 16 states who recognize the Veterans Remembered Flag, according to the website veteransrememberedflag.com.
U.S. Marine Colonel David Winspur, who died in action during WWII, is Joan Marr's uncle.
"Along with the Sippin family, our family is honored to have the American Legion named after our relative," said George Marr.
Unger read the names of active Monroe soldiers added to a town plaque normally on display inside Edith Wheeler Memorial Library.
Dr. Jess House, dean of the School of Professional Studies at Western Connecticut State University and a Vietnam veteran, was a guest speaker. He spoke of the special relationships and friendships forged between men and women at arms.
Two members of the Canadian Air Force placed a wreath by the war memorial on the green as they do every year.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Unger said everyone should also not forget the sacrifices of veterans' families.