NORWALK, Conn. "When it comes to remembering and honoring our veterans, no one does it better than Norwalk." Those words, spoken by Mayor Richard Moccia, weren't merely post-election political hyperbole. They were given physical proof by the city's traditional Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall filled with rousing music, patriotic ceremonies, and stirring speeches.
"I don't think any other town in the area does anything as big as this," said Buddy Scudder, chairman of the Norwalk Veterans Memorial Committee. The two-hour long assembly was punctuated by a minute of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a tribute that was also observed in schools throughout the city.
"The veterans weren't entirely in favor of schools being in session today," Scudder said. "But we've been able to do some educational programs this week in several of the schools, and we'll evaluate things afterward."
The keynote speaker was Jarvis Johnson, a 20-year Navy vet who is now an aide to Congressman Jim Himes. "My main focus is always on the veterans, making sure their needs are met," said Johnson. "I don't do it for the money, I do it for them."
Veterans, many wearing their original uniforms, from as far back as World War II were in attendance. They stood and saluted as the colors were presented, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and a rifle salute was fired outside, followed by the haunting notes of "Taps" played by two trumpeters from the city high schools.
"We must make sure the needs of the veterans are always met," said Moccia. "We cannot question it, because they did not question when they were called to serve."
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