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Newtown Salutes Veterans At VFW Gathering

Walter Dolan, head of VFW Post 308 in Newtown, leads the Veterans Day event on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
Rain forced the Color Guard indoors for Newtown celebration of Veterans Day at VFW Post 308. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa
The Newtown Veterans Day celebration at VFW Post 308 begins with a prayer. Photo Credit: Karen Tensa

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Cold, heavy rain forced everyone inside at VFW Post 308 in Newtown on Wednesday, but it didn't dampen spirits as the group marked Veterans Day.

The Color Guard marched through the room, dipping the flags under the low beams in the ceiling before lining up along the windows.

Post Commander Walter Dolan, who served in the U.S. Army's military police in Desert Storm, led the ceremony.

"We're here to honor our heroes for their achievements and to say thank you," said Dolan, who lives in Sandy Hook and works in IT at Boehringer Ingelheim in Danbury.

He invited the veterans in the small crowd to introduce themselves. Going around the room, veterans with service in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and Afghanistan spoke up.

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llorda also addressed the crowd. She spoke of how her Veterans Day was filled by attending ceremonies at schools across town.

But Llorda also called for help and compassion for veterans who are facing hurdles since leaving the military.

"Twenty percent of the homeless are veterans, 10 percent of veterans are unemployed, 20 percent of veterans since 2002 suffer from PTSD," she said. "We need to elevate our understanding to honor all veterans and to protect their well-being after they serve our country.

"We owe you a debt of gratitude," Llorda said in closing.

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