Memorial Day marked in Enfield

The Memorial Day parade in Enfield set for May 31 was canceled due to weather.

Instead, a service was hosted by the Enfield Veterans’ Council and held in the Enfield High School Auditorium, on May 30.

Council Chairman Tony Torrres said that last year’s parade was canceled because of the pandemic, and this year’s because of rainstorms.

“The rules were relaxed, but we couldn’t compete with Mother Nature,” Torres said, adding that 2021 was only the third time the parade was canceled in approximately 25 years.

“Memorial Day is a stark, and often painful, reminder of those who were never afforded the opportunity to be honored as veterans for their service to our country,” Torres said. “Today is about honoring those warriors who never left the battlefield. If you have fought under the flag of this nation, no further proof of sacrifice is necessary. Our fallen have given what we can call the last full measure of devotion, and they did it to serve America.”

Veterans’ Council Vice Chair Lucian Lefevre said there are approximately 5,000 veterans interred in Enfield’s cemeteries. The council held short ceremonies at each of the cemeteries earlier that morning.

Guest speaker was retired Lt. Col. Joe Danao, a 33-year veteran of the CT Army National Guard, who served in several positions, including in administration, and as a combat facilities engineer. He served in Afghanistan, overseeing large construction projects that supported the U.S. Embassy and military forces.

He currently works as executive assistant for Commissioner Thomas Saadi of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs for the State of Connecticut.

Danao thanked the Enfield commission for the work it does year-round, and spoke about the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, which also took the lives of many veterans.

”Not with us today are many family, friends, and veterans who were taken from us, due to COVID-19,” he said, asking for a moment of silence for their memory.

“The total deaths in our wars from the American Revolutionary War to present, according to Wikipedia, is 1,354,664,” Danao said. “Around those wars are many who died as the result of physical and mental trauma directly associated with their military service.”

Danao said our military is part of a grand, ongoing experiment of democracy, here and abroad.

“America is a young, and still new country, on the world stage,” Danao said. “It is an experiment in freedom and democracy that is still in the proofing stage. Today, we often talk about following the science. Two hundred and thirty-eight years after our first war, the science is clear - freedom and democracy are possible. What is not yet clear through science is ‘can it be sustained?’ Can America remain the home of the free and the brave? Can we work hard to reconnect, remember, reflect, respect, and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to maintain freedom - not only for America, but for all nations.”

In attendance were State Sen. John Kissel, State Rep. Tom Arnone, Enfield Mayor Mike Ludwick, Chief of Police Aleric Fox, and several members of the Enfield Town Council and Board of Education.

The Enfield High School band performed songs for each branch of the military, and those who have served were asked to stand for the song representing their branch.

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