According to Edie Tschorn, Newtown resident of 43 years, the Veterans Honor Garden "means the people in our country really appreciate all these men and women who are fighting for our freedom in the world."
That sentiment was felt by many, despite the high temperatures yesterday during the dedication ceremony. Tschorn, who came to honor her father, said, "He served in WWII 204th Military Police Army in Normandy June 6, 1944."
The Veterans Honor Garden, located behind the Newtown Youth Academy (NYA), was the concept of NYA's founder Peter D'Amico. He invited residents to purchase bricks honoring those who are serving or have served in the military. There is a special section of bricks for fallen soldiers and those names were read aloud today during the ceremony.
The dedication began with the Governor's Horse Guard and Patriot Guard entering the garden. Next a march of the VFW Honor Guard and Posting of Colors.
Katie Cummings, a 2011 graduate of Newtown High School, sang the National Anthem while many held their hand over their heart.
Carolyn Schreiber welcomed everyone and introduced Monsignor Robert Weiss of St. Rose of Lima church who did the Prayer of Dedication.
Additional speakers were Newtown's First Selectman Pat Llodra, and Dr. Christopher Kukk, Professor at Western Connecticut Stat University. Peter D'Amico was the final speaker.
An honor roll of the "Reading of the Names" was conducted as the Newtown Soccer Club fifth and sixth grade boys helped to lay red carnations on each of the bricks of the fallen soldiers.
The Laying of the Wreath at the foot of the American flag was done by Paul Mazzara. There was a 21 gun salute by the VFW Honor Guard and Rifle Squad.
Finally, the height of the fountain spray was raised and families gathered around, some photographing their families with their bricks. Christal Preszler of Newtown photographed her brick and said, "I bought three bricks, one for my dad who just did, he was in the Marines in the 1950's."
Patty McDermott, Managing Director of Citi Private Bank in CT and Westchester said, "The garden is very special. I have three veterans in my family, dad and two brothers are veterans. I am very grateful for what Peter has done to honor the military in our town."
For more information about NYA or purchasing bricks: Contact NYA at 203-426-0088, extension 10, or Kaki Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.