MERIDEN — Nearly 200 veterans were honored Tuesday with state Veterans of Wartime Service Medals in a ceremony at Platt High School.
Each veteran received a commemorative medal and some families accepted the medals for veterans honored posthumously.
“It is quite gratifying that the veterans in the state are definitely recognized for the sacrifices that we give,” said Navy veteran Ubaike Joseph, who attended the ceremony with some of his family.
Joseph served in the medical corps from 1989 to 1991, during Operation Desert Storm. Originally from Nigeria, he is now a Meriden resident and has worked for the state Department of Public Health for about 25 years.
He said Tuesday’s ceremony was a fulfilling moment for many veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam, as they were not initially given the recognition they deserved upon returning home.
Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Tom Saadi said the medal ceremony was a chance to give recognition and thanks to all veterans.
“This should remind us that the veterans here today, and those who have served our nation past and present, are not just names on a battle roster, not just data or statistics in a report, and not just a number in a book or a news article,” Saadi said. “They were and are fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, loved ones and friends who answered that call to serve.”
The event was hosted by state Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden.
“You, our veterans that are here today, you understand the meaning of service to country and to community,” Suzio said. “The rest of us that are here today are here because we understand that it is society's collective oath of duty to serve those who served and to recognize that service.”
The Meriden Antique Veterans began the ceremony with the Presentation of Colors. An invocation and benediction were led by the Rev. Tom Sievel of Our Lady Queen of Angels, and Mayor Kevin Scarpti led the Pledge of Allegiance. State Reps. Cathy Abercrombie and Emil “Buddy” Altobello, both Meriden Democrats, helped present the medals.
Suzio said veterans who were not able to attend the ceremony would have their medals personally delivered.