Community honors veterans at Veteran's Memorial Park
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Mon., Nov. 12, 2012
Veterans, their families and members of the community gathered at Veteran's Memorial Park on Veteran's Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m., to honor the men and women who served our country in the military.
Sergeant Major Kent Carlson, chair of the South Windsor Patriotic Commission, led the ceremony, and Linda Helinke sang the national anthem. Town Councilor Edward Havens attended, as did Mayor Thomas Delnicki, who said a few words.
“I'd like to comment on the appropriateness of having a Veteran's Day ceremony after Election Day,” said Delnicki. “Far too often we take for granted our right to vote, our right to freedom of speech, our right to assembly. If not for our veterans, we would not have those rights. To them, on behalf of all the citizens of South Windsor, thank you.”
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Bob Feher, lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force. Feher graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 1996 and became an A-10 Warthog pilot. He was deployed in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he engaged the enemy in support of ground troops. He has been deployed six times in support of operations in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas in the Middle East. He has worked in the State Emergency Operations Center and presently serves as the 103rd Air Operations Group standardization and evaluation officer. He lives in South Windsor with his wife, Kelly, and three sons.
“Over my 21-year career, I have been involved in hundreds of combat operations,” said Feher. “But when I laid down at night, I often thought of my wife, family and friends.” When he was serving overseas, he was not there for his sons' first steps, and was not there to pick them up when they fell. He feared they would not recognize him when he returned home. “Those are some small types of sacrifices veterans make... For all veterans, regardless of their service and the era in which they served, have paid the price time and time again,” he said. “They have defended America, through both the best and worst of times, and they have performed their duties tirelessly.”
Feher also encouraged others to serve, though not necessarily in the military. “I have always felt it was an honor to serve my country and I continue to serve today. But I also believe those who are able should serve in the community,” he said.
Wreaths were then laid at the park's four war monuments. Sgt. James Anastasio laid a wreath at the World War I monument, World War II veteran Sgt. Melvin Stead laid one at the WWII monument, Elizabeth Pendleton, whose brother was killed in Vietnam, laid one at the Vietnam monument, and Korean War veteran Clifford Daugherty laid one at the Korean War monument.
The South Windsor Honor Guard fired a salute, and the ceremony concluded with trumpeters Andy Caruk and South Windsor High School student Tim Rugala playing “Taps.”