Honoring the fallen on Memorial Day

DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Communities around the state are coming together to remember the brave men and women who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

The day began early in Danbury, where a special mass was held inside St. Joseph Church to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day.

“I don’t consider it a holiday. I consider it a day of remembrance,” said Veteran Timothy Winkler.

Inside the church, those who served our country proudly were seated in the front row. Each one of them representing a branch of our nation’s military. After mass ended, veterans, law enforcement and members of the community traveled throughout the city to place wreaths at 14 different war monuments. Those monuments bear the names of those who never came home alive to their families.

“The ones who lost their lives lost two lives really,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. “The life they lost the day of the battle and the life they would’ve had later on.”

Navy veteran Joseph Ortella, from Danbury, was with the group that traveled to every monument. “It’s said,” said Ortella. “But I’m just glad I’m here to honor the ones that couldn’t make it.”

Every ceremony was complete with a gun salute and the playing of Taps, which was done by Max Durkin, a junior at Danbury High School.

“I’d like to thank them in general for all that they do and this is just a way to help them out,” said Durkin.

Memorial Day was initially called “Decoration Day” and was meant to honor union army soldiers killed during the Civil War. The holiday was eventually renamed and expanded to include everyone killed in military service.

In 1971 a federal law declared Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. As Americans go throughout their Monday and the coming days and weeks, they are asked to keep one very important thing in mind. “Remember. And never forget,” said Winkler. “Freedom is never free. The price was paid by all of those who went before us and never came home.”

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