Afghanistan veteran to speak at Nov. 11 ceremony

Afghanistan veteran to speak at Nov. 11 ceremony

A Veterans Day Ceremony will be held Monday, Nov. 11, beginning at 11 a.m. at Berlin Veterans Memorial Park on Veterans Way.

Veterans Day is a national holiday in which we show appreciation to those who have served their country in the armed forces. The holiday dates back to 1919. It was originally called Armistice Day and its date celebrates the German surrender that ended the First World War. In 1954, Congress amended the holiday to be known as Veterans Day, to honor all of America's veterans.

On the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, we pause to honor veterans and celebrate their contributions to our way of life. Few have given more to our nation than the men and women who have served in our armed forces in peace and in war.

So, on this day, we want to ensure veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in their lives to keep our country free. The theme for Veterans Day 2019 is “Service.”

Members of the Berlin High School Band, the Brass Quintet, directed by Jeff Sirois, will play U.S. Armed Forces Service Songs, and trumpeters Brendan Malcarne and Kat Geschimsky will play Taps.

Members of the Berlin High School Chorus, the Madrigal Singers, directed by Tyler Boyle, will sing the National Anthem and America the Beautiful.

Also, there will be a Color Guard and a Rifle Volley Salute by the joint members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10732 and American Legion Post 68.

This year’s guest speaker is LTC (Retired) Joseph Danao, Connecticut Army National Guard. Danao currently serves as executive assistant to Commissioner Thomas Saadi of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs. He has occupied the role of Director of Projects and Operations at the DVA since Oct. 16, 2015, the day after he signed out of active duty.

Danao is ever-present in support of veteran service organizations throughout Connecticut. He is the chief proponent for DVA’s mobile phone application, or APP, which makes support and assistance to a veteran, their family and anyone concerned about supporting the same, only a finger tap away. 

Danao’s military service includes multiple assignments with the Connecticut Army National Guard as a communications NCO, Combat Engineer and Facilities Engineer from 1982 to 2015. He served in Afghanistan in 2010, assigned to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers as the Kabul Area Office OIC.

Danao’s significant military awards include the Connecticut Emergency Service Ribbon with oak clusters, Army Achievement Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, the Connecticut Medal for Merit, Connecticut Wartime Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and the Bronze Star Medal.

He is a recipient of the National Guard Association of the United States Valley Forge Cross for Heroism and an Army Commendation Medal for direct actions that involved saving lives.

One incident involved a commercial airliner’s 15-year-old passenger who stopped breathing. Danao rendered first aid and recommended the airliner conduct an immediate emergency landing to waiting paramedics. His actions are credited with saving the youngster’s life.

Danao holds master’s degrees from the University of Hartford and the University of New Haven. In 2001 he was one of two National Guard members selected to attend the Army’s premier leadership course – Command and General Staff College.

He is the proud father of SSG Joe Danao and proud husband of Sergeant Major (retired) Laura Danao. His son is readying for his second overseas deployment, and his wife is the first female on active duty promoted to Sergeant Major in the Connecticut Army National Guard.

-- Press Release