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Darien Gathers to Honor its Heroes

Darien residents gathered at the Veterans Memorial Circle in front of Town Hall on Thursday morning to pay their respects to veterans who have served our country. Phil Kraft , post commander of the Darien Veterans of Foreign Wars and chairman of the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission, was the master of ceremonies.

"In lieu of an opening prayer this morning, I would ask you to please turn to the veteran nearest you and say, 'Thank you,'" Kraft said at the beginning of the ceremony.

Veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the current War on Terror were all in attendance, receiving stirring rounds of applause when Kraft recognized them. Color guards from the VFW and Darien police also joined the event.

First Selectman Dave Campbell read a proclamation expressing the town's appreciation for the service and sacrifice of the veterans. "I want them all to know how proud and grateful we are of them," he said.

The event was broadcast live to Darien schools through Channel 79 . Kraft welcomed the students and expressed his gratitude for the respect they show to veterans. "In schools throughout Darien and the country, students know only one way to treat veterans," he said. "As a Vietnam vet, I am so grateful when kids walk up to veterans who are total strangers and say, 'Thank you for your service.' It's a wonderful thing."

Flowers were placed on the center stone of the Veterans Memorial as symbolic tributes to veterans. A red flower represented the zeal of the veterans in upholding brotherhood and justice, a white flower symbolized the love the citizens have for the veterans, and a blue flower symbolized their fidelity and truth. An evergreen was also placed as a symbol of eternal gratitude.

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