Honoring and remembering fallen Waterbury veterans

(WTNH / LaSalle Blanks)

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at the Yeshiva Ketanah Jewish school got a special Memorial Day lesson from two guest speakers who wanted them to appreciate and learn about the sacrifices of fallen Waterbury veterans.

“Joseph Gorman Margowitz,” said Bob Dorr, a member of the Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee. “Died May 21st 1945 in the Battle for Okinawa. The United States lost 12,000 soldiers in that battle.”

2017 05 26waterburymemorialday2 Honoring and remembering fallen Waterbury veterans
(WTNH / LaSalle Blanks)

Bob stood before the class of students and read to them the names of Jewish veterans from Waterbury. He explained how they served our country and how they died for our country.

“Private Paul Johnson, 64th Artillery,” he said. “Died December 8th of wounds received in the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the first casualty from World War II. From Greenwood Avenue. Paul Johnson — a wonderful young man.”

This was part of the Waterbury Veterans Memorial Committee’s mission to honor and remember Waterbury’s fallen veterans and to make sure the community never forgets them.

“Their contribution to our nation is amazing,” Bob said. “Their bravery cannot be forgotten.”

Thanks to this special visit, they won’t be. The students were excited to learn about the contributions of veterans whose names they may’ve seen on special plaques. Now, they can put stories with the names.

“Now I’ll realize what the veterans did for us,” said one student.

“I thought it was very nice and inspirational to give us an idea of what the American military really does for us,” said another student.

“What we did today was give new life to the memory of those men from Waterbury who sacrificed for our nation,” Bob said.

2017 05 26waterburymemorialday3 Honoring and remembering fallen Waterbury veterans
(WTNH / LaSalle Blanks)

But, that’s not the only way the Waterbury Veterans Committee is keeping these men’s spirit alive. This weekend, they will dedicated two new memorials around Waterbury. One is a memorial honoring fallen Waterbury World War I veterans. It’s on Meadow Street right off of I-84. This memorial has extra meaning for Bob — his great uncle’s name is one of those engraved on it.

“Leo Joseph Marshall,” Bob said. “I’m absolutely delighted that future generations will know of his service in the United States Navy.”

This memorial cost $7,000. Bob says every dollar came from community donations.

“It shows that we have a very patriotic community,” Bob said.

The other new memorial honors Waterburians who died in the Global War on Terror.

It’ll be dedicated at Veterans Park on Thomaston Avenue in Waterville Saturday at 10am.

Bob says 6 veterans from Waterbury have died fighting in the War on Terror since the attack on America. Bob says Waterbury has the most number of casualties in that war than any other Connecticut city.

“Waterbury has given more lives fighting in pursuit of world peace since September 11, 2001,” he said. “No other city in Connecticut has sacrificed more than the city of Waterbury and that was the impetus to get this monument created.”

2017 05 26waterburymemorialday Honoring and remembering fallen Waterbury veterans
(WTNH / LaSalle Blanks)

Bob says the mission of his committee is to make sure we never forget those who gave up so much for us. Bob says it’s a mission he tries to carry out everyday and the new memorials and monuments will help with that cause.

“Thank you,” one student said while shaking Bob’s hand.

“You’re very welcome young man,” Bob said.

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