Waterbury teachers honor city’s fallen veterans with planted flags ahead of Memorial Day

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — If you drive through Waterbury and pass by Hamilton Park, on the corner of Silver Street Express/Meriden Rd and East Main Street, you see a field of red, white, and blue mixed in with the green grass.

Wednesday, history and social studies teachers from Waterbury Arts Magnet School (WAMS) planted 529 American flags to give drivers passing by a lesson in the real significance of Memorial Day.

RELATED: LIST: Memorial Day commemoration events, parades on for 2021

The 529 flags represent each veteran from Waterbury who has died in American military conflicts dating all the way back to The Revolution.

“It’s just something — the least I can do — for somebody who lost their life for the things we believe in,” said WAMS teacher, Kyle Ondrush. “It’s just really nice to be able to give back for something that somebody sacrificed for me to have the freedoms that I still have today.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, WAMS students were the ones who planted the flags every year before each Memorial Day weekend. The effort was canceled altogether last year because of COVID. And this year, students were not allowed to participate for the same reason. But the school’s teachers got the job done.

“There are lots of restrictions and having the students we need gather together on a bus — the logistics of it were just too difficult this year,” said WAMS social studies teacher, Domenec Quattrocchi.

So, several teachers like Domenec, told the ringleader of the flag-planting effort they would like to step in to get the tradition back on track.

“I’m proud of them,” said James Butler, the WAMS teacher who coordinates the effort. “I have great colleagues and I’m grateful for that.”

Every now and then people in passing cars show how grateful they are by honking horns, waving, or giving a thumbs up.

“That’s one of the best parts of this,” James said.

News 8 asked Kyle what that says about the history/social studies teachers at WAMS. His response: “We rock.”

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