BRISTOL - â€śWe call your attention to this small table, which occupies a place of dignity and honor. It is set for one,â€ť said Chuck Woodin, founder of American Legion Post 209 in Forestville.
On Thursday afternoon at the Village Green of Bristol, veterans and staff attended a flag ceremony presented by Post 209. The lobby of the Village Green now features a Wall of Honor to commemorate veterans. It includes the emblems of each branch of the military, the U.S. flag, the Connecticut state flag and the POW/MIA flag. The flags were donated by Post 209 and the emblems were ordered by Helene Wade, director of recreation at Village Green.
During the ceremony, Woodin explained the symbolism of each item set at the table for the comrades who are missing from the ranks and are referred to as Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.
â€śThe table is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner. The tablecloth is white for the purity of their intentions to respond to their countryâ€™s call to arms. The single rose in the vase signifies the blood they have shed in sacrifice. The red ribbon on the vase represents an unyielding determination for a proper accounting. A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate. The salt that sprinkles reminds us of the countless tears of families as they wait. The glass is inverted; they cannot toast with us at this time. The chair is empty; they are not here. The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope, which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home. The United States flag reminds us that they may never return and have paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom,â€ť said Woodin.
Attending the ceremony were veteran residents at Village Green; James Norfleet, U.S. Army; Fern Champagne, Army National Guard; Mark Levine, U.S. Army; Allain Nadeau, U.S. Navy; and Leo Livigne, U.S. Army.
Livigne, who served from 1947 to 1949, thought the ceremony was very nice.
â€śItâ€™s important to see veterans and know that people are concerned for them and that theyâ€™re still remembered,â€ť Livigne said.
Levine, who served as an Army surgical nurse in 1969, said the ceremony was excellent.
â€śThe wall honors all the branches. It unites us and puts us all together,â€ť Levine said.
Young Crandall, the executive director at Village Green, was honored to present this token to their residential veterans.
â€śWe wanted to make this lobby a welcoming atmosphere, especially for our veterans. Now our residents and other guests can take a moment and appreciate all the sacrifices and services our veterans have done for this country,â€ť said Crandall.
Along with Woodin, other Post 209 members who came to the ceremony were Bruce Barton, post historian, and Brian Avery, post commander.
â€śThis is something that Village Green has been asking for, for many years,â€ť said Avery. â€śWe wanted to keep true to our word, and it is with great pride and pleasure to present the Wall of Honor. We respect, honor and love our veterans.â€ť
â€śThere was a great deal of work put into this project and it came out excellent. We never want to forget tradition,â€ť said Barton.