There are few things that can stimulate appreciation for all that life has to offer than to be in a room full of people responsible for all those things.
On Thursday night, just in time for Memorial Day, Norwalk government officials gathered in City Hall's Concert Hall for a ceremony introducing the new Veterans Hall of Honor.
There was no shortage of service members present for the event—or of misty eyes in the room that night as a series of speakers and commemorators addressed the audience.
Alfred Scudder, an Airforce Vietnam Veteran and president of the Norwalk Veterans Memorial Committee, addressed the crowd and thanked them for showing so much support for the veterans in their lives.
"This is really the best salute to all veterans I could imagine," he said after the ceremony. "All those photos and memoribilia, people can bring their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and see real faces. It's important for kids, especially today with all the video games, to see real faces and feel the sacrifice made. Real people died so they can do the things they do."
During the ceremony, each branch of the military was singled out for a moment of respect, itself was a nice moment, but a surprise highlight of the evening presented itself in the standing ovation two active duty marines received when they were pointed out in the crowd.
"It was unbelievable," Cpl. Tony SSonko, of Norwalk, said after the ceremony. "The most important thing anyone can say to a vet is 'Thank you.' A lot of people might not support war, but you can always support your troops. It was awesome."
Ssonko & Sgt. Thomas Mount, of Milford, have two months left on active duty until they retire to Rhode Island on reserve status.
The Veterans Hall of Honor was the brainchild of Karen Doyle Lyons. As chairperson of the VHH committee, she was ecstatic to be able to being her realization to life for those so deserving to be recoginzed in her city.
"For 11 years, it's been my dream," Lyons said. "Two months ago, the mayor gave me the go-ahead and I ran with it, no questions asked. I think the committee did such a wonderful job, I'm very proud. They did a totally awesome job. This is a true 'Thank you,' to our veterans.'"
Mayor Richard Moccia, a veteran himself, said he couldn't be happier with the outcome.
"More than a sense of accomplishment, tonight brings a real sense of appreciation for our veterans," Moccia said. "All of our citizens can now come and see the names and the faces of those serving in uniform. We've had a lot of events over this years. This one certainly brings a sense of something different, something special with it."