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Virtual ceremony held in Hartford to remember fallen service members ahead of Memorial Day

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There won’t be parades or large ceremonies this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Memorial Day will be celebrated to remember our heroes.

Leading up to the holiday weekend, Thursday evening Governor Ned Lamont remembered the fallen in a ceremony.

The crowd was small as our nation faces a very different kind of enemy: the coronavirus. But everyone watching live at the Capitol and on their computer screens across Connecticut were unified with one mission: to honor the service of the men and women who sacrificed everything for all of us.

One by one, the names of the 65 men and women from our state who died serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11th were read. All of their portraits hand in the Capitol.

Typically, this ceremony is filled with veterans and military families. But this year – due to social distancing policies – fewer people could attend. But this small gathering was broadcast on Youtube to everyone to watch.

In attendance was the governor. Lt. Governor Susan Bysiwiez, and high ranking leaders with the Connecticut National guard. All spoke during the ceremony.

Major General Francis Evon read a letter from the Gold Star parents of a fallen serviceman. Ray and Leesa PHillipon from West Hartford who lost their son, Lance Corporal Lawrence Philipon when he was just 22 on a mission in Iraq back in 2005.

Before he died, he carried the Marine flag at President Reagan’s funeral.

President Reagan’s quote speaks to the loss of their lives and I quote, ‘They gave up two lives the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered, old men.

– Major General Francis Evon/Connecticut National Guard

Each speaker pressed upon the importance of recognizing Memorial Day this week, even though there won’t be parades and large gatherings.

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