MERIDEN — Officials and others gathered Monday to honor veterans during a ceremony at Veterans Memorial Boulevard.
Mayor-elect Manny Santos, a Marine veteran, spoke and placed a wreath during the dedication of signs marking the boulevard, located near the intersection of East Main Street and Broad Street.
“It felt very comfortable around other veterans,” Santos said after the ceremony. “It’s a great celebration.”
Santos said he has brought his children to the Veterans Day celebrations every year since they were toddlers so they could understand the importance of honoring those who serve their country.
The ceremony started with the commander of the United Veterans Council, Richard Couture, reading a history of Veterans Day.
Meriden resident Dean Loucks, a veteran, said the most emotional part of the ceremony is hearing taps played.
“The town seems to support the vets,” Loucks said.
Meriden police officers and firefighters attended. The Fire Department’s new aerial truck held a flag over the ceremony site.
The ceremony drew a large crowd, filling the plaza next to Stop & Shop.
Jason Kovach was at the ceremony with his son, Christopher Kovach, 9, and Tiffany Onofrio. Onofrio has a brother who served in the Air Force and father who was a Marine. John Kovach said his son presented letters to the veterans last year and wanted to come to the ceremony again.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, state Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, city councilors and Board of Education members were also in attendance. The speakers thanked the veterans and spoke about how important it is for their service to be remembered all year.
Murphy said about 600 to 700 veterans are currently homeless. While that number is down from a few years ago, it is still unacceptable, Murphy said.
The ceremony ended with a rendition of taps, a gun salute and singing of “God Bless America.”
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