Monday, May 28, 2012

Names.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Gold Star Mothers, elected officials, veterans of all conflicts past and present, on behalf of the City of Danbury, I welcome you to our annual remembrance service.

I would also like to welcome Pat Waldron, our Director of Veterans Affairs, and offer a special thanks to the Danbury Council of Veterans for organizing another terrific parade.

Special thanks also is in order for our Public Works staff for working all week to prepare Main Street and the parade route.

Finally, I would like to thank and congratulate veteran Patricia Ann Terry, our honorary Parade Marshall.

While the parade that we march in is always important, this service, held each year at this hour, in the Rose Garden, dedicated to our veterans- both past and present, is the most important part of our ceremony.

In a few moments, my friends from the Danbury Council of Veterans, will read the names of those Danbury veterans who have passed on during the last year.

Last year in my remarks at our annual service,  I mentioned to you how important that part of the ceremony was.

This morning that is still true.

It is easy to not pay attention to those names- it can be hot. we are all tired from our walk down Main Street.

Each year, I make an  extra effort to pay attention to those Danburians whose names are called for the final roll call,  for their the last formation – they are good names, old Danbury names. Their names bring back memories of a Danbury in a different time and place.

Each of the people who will be mentioned paid some important part in allowing us to come together for this moment, – the ability to celebrate our freedoms. They gave this nation the ability to do right, as God sees the right – their names speak of courage, of duty, and of passion for our United States.

The roll call of those departed are our city’s modern day Yankee Doodle Dandies, and as such we should respect them and honor them for their sacrifice.

Indeed, we honor them for the years that they gave up in exchange for the years that we have.

What a privilege to be here and listen to their names called one last time

I am deeply humbled by their service, their sacrifice, and their belief in our great nation.

This morning, I would be remiss if I did not mention a name that will be called out for his final roll call.

That is of my father, Army Specialist Donald W. Boughton, Military Policeman, Korean War Veteran, and proud Danburian.

Knowing someone who is on the list, helps us remember that each of these people was a father, mother, brother, sister, and a child. In this manner they become three dimensional, they become more than just a name on a list. They become real, younger, fit and ready to answer the call of duty.

This morning we read their names to pay honor to their sacrifice, their courage, and their commitment to our way of life. They served their country,  while at the same time,  many of us enjoyed the fruits of our great nation. For that gift we should always be grateful.

 When the names are read, reflect on their collective honor, their spirit, and their dedication to our great nation.

They are the true meaning of Memorial Day

For me, I will be listening a little closer this year. There is a certain Army Specialist who lived on Mill Plain Rd in Danbury, who proudly enlisted in the Army on the 29th April 1953, and after service in Korea, Japan, and West Point was honorably discharged on the 26th of March 1959.

Like all the names on the list, he will be answering his final roll call,  - it will be his last formation.

That is why we assemble here this morning. To honor the living and remember the dead.

It is our solemn duty to memorialize them.

So thank you for being here this morning – your presence means everything.

Thank you for caring about our veterans both past and present.

Thank you for honoring the fallen at this service.

What of the names that will be read in a few minutes? They may be gone, but their love of country and their American spirit live on – in our hearts and in our community.

May God bless you, and may God bless the City of Danbury, and may God bless the United States of America.

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