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Norwalk Remembers Those Who Gave All

Veterans, families and officials gathered in front of City Hall to pay tribute to the men and women of the United States military who gave their lives in service. At 10:30 a.m., Mayor Luigi Vernola opened the program by welcoming guests and thanking the American Legion Post 359 for their support. As the American Legion combined color guard brought out the flags of country, state and city for the pledge of allegiance, four T-6 Texan training aircraft flew over the crowd, calling attention to the dignity and solemnity of the event.  The aircraft made two more passes over the Memorial, the last showing a missing man formation to highlight the loss of lives.

The city's newest public art installation, a custom walkway and City Hall entrance marked by five eleven-foot tall monuments, was unveiled by the City Council, revealing granite facings etched with stories and images of servicemen and women from each branch of the military.

Keynote speaker John B. Kelsall, who, along with wife Teri, founded The Jonas Project, an organization assisting veterans with entrepreneurship, told the audience that Memorial Day, a day that once meant "barbecues and an extra day in the weekend to have fun," took on new meaning when their son, Lt. Comm. Jonas  Kelsall, a decorated Navy officer and one of the original Seal Team Seven members, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011.  He went on to say that the loss of Jonas, whose last words to his parents were "If anything happens to me, remember that I died doing what I love with the people I love," helped them to realize that each individual should celebrate each day to most aptly commemorate the sacrifice of soldiers, like Jonas, who laid down their lives simply for that very purpose.

See the entire ceremony at

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