Plainville resident remembers Marine brother ahead of Memorial Day

Plainville resident remembers Marine brother ahead of Memorial Day


PLAINVILLE — Susan Chase remembers the moment she was given the news that her brother Anthony Spirito died in Vietnam.

“The whole thing left such an impression on me,” the Plainville resident said. “It certainly changed my life.”

Chase, then a Farmington resident, was 13 when she was brought into the nurse’s office at school during the winter of 1968. A priest was there and told her that her 18-year-old brother, a marine, had died.

“My father said, ‘we have to live for each other now,’ ” she said. “That’s what my brother would have wanted.”

Chase, grand marshal of this year’s Memorial Day parade, still has the Gold Star charm her mother wore on a bracelet.

“It’s about what I’m representing,” Chase said.

The Gold Star dates back to World War I, when it represented loved ones that died in service. A group of mothers whose children died in battle was later formed. They were known as “Gold Star Mothers.”

A Gold Star memorial will be unveiled this Memorial Day at Veterans Park in Plainville after the parade.

The monument will be gray with black letters: “Dedicated to all families who suffered the loss of a loved one who gave their life in the line of duty for the United States.” Six circles at the bottom represent the six branches of service.

It is the first Gold Star memorial in Plainville.

Resident Bob Doolittle, an Air Force veteran during the Vietnam era, brought the idea to the Town Council last year after seeing a Gold Star memorial while traveling in Arizona.

“I just couldn’t get it out of my mind,” he said.

The council formed a committee consisting of Doolittle, Town Manager Robert Lee, councilors, members of the parks and recreation board, local leaders of the VFW and American Legion, as well as staff members from Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty’s office.

More than 20 community members and organizations donated close to $4,000 for the memorial. Lee said around 40 Gold Star families were invited to the Memorial Day service after the parade.

“We looked at families in Plainville, some as far back as World War I,” he said.

Chase said she is looking forward to attending the service with her husband Mark and two sons; a police officer and teacher in town.

“They never knew their uncle,” she said. “I see him through them.”

The parade steps off Monday, May 29, at 9 a.m. on Broad Street and ends at the corner of Maple and Whiting streets. A representative from the Connecticut Chapter of Gold Star Mothers will be in the parade.

Immediately after the parade will be a service and dedication of the new monument at Veterans Park. 
Twitter: @KusReporter


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