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Eastern Pays Homage on Veterans Day

Published on November 11, 2015

Eastern Pays Homage on Veterans Day

Sean M. Connolly, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs was the keynote speaker at Eastern Connecticut State University’s annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11. “Today we pay homage to the patriots of all our wars,” said Connolly, “including peace- time veterans, Cold War veterans and those of all our conflicts.”

Connolly also mentioned that 2015 is the 70-year anniversary of the conclusion of World War II, in which Connecticut lost more than 4,000 of its citizens; and the 40-year anniversary of the Vietnam War, in which Connecticut lost more than 600 of its citizens.

“While we should not glorify the work that our brave men and women in the armed forces perform in battle, we need to hold up their bravery and sacrifice as a symbol of America’s strength,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez.

While Connolly is not an Eastern graduate, he did take summer classes at Eastern years ago, and last week returned to campus to visit the VETS Center (Veterans Education and Transition Services). “You can see the fine talent and deep potential our veterans bring to the table,” he said, commenting on veterans’ work ethic and success in the college setting.

As commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Connolly is tasked with “serving those who have served.” While Connecticut’s more than 200,000 veterans are experiencing a surge in support services compared to years and generations passed, they still face many mental, physical, fiscal and employment challenges, according to Connolly. He urged the crowd to thank a veteran, “not just today, but every day,” as they are the reason the United States is the longest enduring democracy in the world.

The ceremony also featured remarks from Eastern’s Kenneth Bedini, vice president for Student Affairs; student Kevin Lacy, a machinist in the Navy; Toni M. Martucci, Air Force veteran and coordinator of the VETS Center; and Father Larry Laurence LaPointe.

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Veterans