BRISTOL – Gov. Ned Lamont was a guest speaker at the 2022 Armed Forces Day Luncheon at the Aqua Turf Club Friday and thanked those who served for their dedication to the country.
The event was attended by more than 750 veterans and active service members from each branch of the military as well as local and state leaders. Military vehicles were parked in front of the banquet facility at 556 Mulberry St. and a large American flag was displayed from a ladder truck.
Lamont was escorted to the podium by the Color Guard while the 102nd Army Band played “Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue.”
The Armed Forces Day luncheon began with an invocation by Chaplain Eric Wismar, who thanked God for each service member’s unique capabilities and asked God to give them, strength to “lead all nations in the way of justice and peace.”
The Missing Man Table ceremony was then held in recognition of those service men and women who are missing in action or prisoners of war.
Major General Francis J. Evon, Jr., adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard, then thanked the gathered service men and women for their service.
“I sincerely thank you for volunteering to serve your country and defending and keeping safe this great state of Connecticut,” he said. “Thank you for defending the freedoms granted by the U.S. Constitution.”
Evon Jr. encouraged three World War II veterans in attendance stand to be recognized and applauded and then did the same for Gold Star families.
Evon Jr. introduced Gov. Lamont as “one of our greatest advocates.”
As the governor took the podium, he began by speaking about his uncle, Thomas William Lamont II, who served aboard the USS Snook in the Pacific theater of World War II before it was sunk with all 84 crew members on-board.
“His submarine went missing during the very last weeks of the war,” said Lamont. “It wasn’t until many months later that our family realized what happened to the submarine. My family talked about it as though he had just left the room for the next 50 years.”
Lamont thanked the veterans and service members for standing up to fight for peace and independence.
“Freedom isn’t free,” he said. “My heart goes out to all of our extraordinary service men and women who provide their service on behalf of this nation.”
Lamont thanked the members of the Connecticut National Guard, whom he said were the first to say “sign me up” when the state faced an emergency like a bad storm or needing to set up a field hospital during the pandemic.
Lamont then re-appointed Evon Jr. to serve in his role for four more years. Evon Jr. was applauded by the audience, whom he encouraged to applaud for themselves. He said that service in the National Guard is a “team sport.”
“Thank you for your faith and confidence in me,” said Evon Jr. “We have a lot more to accomplish and we will get it done.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.