On Saturday, March 21, State Rep. Tony Hwang, participated in ceremony presenting the new Connecticut War Times Service Medal to local Veterans at Fairfield Warde High School. A capacity crowd was on hand in the school auditorium, as more than 400 Veterans received the honor. To be eligible, a veteran must have served in time of war, as defined in state statues, and who either was a resident of Connecticut at the time he or she was called to active duty for such service, or is domiciled in this state on the date of such award. Additional details of the event are provided from the Fairfield Minuteman’s March 26 edition below.
Rep. Hwang speaks with Eugene Olcsvary, who received a medal.
Rep. Hwang shares a moment with Rome Lillicraf and his son, Blake Lillicraf, who attended to accept a medal for his grandfather
03/26/2009, Fairfield Minuteman
Connecticut honors Fairfield Veterans of War
By Dan Quinlan , Contributing Writer
Decked out in drab brown riding pants and polished silver spurs, the 1st Company Governor’s Horse Guard presented colors and arms before the gathered sons and daughters of Fairfield who served the nation in the cause of war; and who were recognized last Saturday by Senator John McKinney and the State of Connecticut with the award of a state military service medal.
Veterans included Bob Korchman a Marine paratrooper who served in Korea; Ronald Baks who served in the Army during Vietnam; Patrick McInerney a sailor aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) during Vietnam; and Colin Thomas a member of the Army Third Special Forces who saw action in Afghanistan. The stories ranged from those recalling their youthful service in combat from many years past, to those for whom the memory of war is still a proximate reality.
The event took place at Fairfield Warde High School, where 467 veterans, and 21 posthumous recipients, from all services received the first state military medal struck since World War One. Connecticut has issued such awards since the Civil War, but the design of which remained stagnant after the Great War. Linda S. Schwartz, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a Vietnam veteran, explained that while the medal, embossed with the state seal and the word ‘service’ on one side, and the five service seals on the reverse; was a new design, the ribbon, a vestige of the original was preserved since, “The red, white, and blue shows one thing: for all those who served there is an intrinsic bond that ties us together.”
A host of local notables were on hand to pay their respects to the veterans. State representatives Tom Drew (D-132), Kim Fawcett (D-133), Tony Hwang (R-134), Judge Daniel Caruso, Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Curry, and Chief of Police David J. Peck read the names of the former soldiers, sailors, and airmen in an expression of public recognition and gratitude for their perilous work.
Senator McKinney lauded the veterans, noting that he had just celebrated his forty-fifth birthday and that, “I’ve spent every day of my forty-five years free…[and] I have enjoyed that freedom and peace because of your sacrifice.” After shaking hands with several hundred former armed service members McKinney added, “It was a tremendous honor to meet so many veterans who sacrificed so much.”
Representative Hwang found the ceremony to be particularly moving as it contrasted with his youth in militaristic Taiwan. He remarked that Americans are endowed with terrific rights and liberties, and that the presentation of the defenders of such allowed him to recall, “Having grown up in a martial law state…I can see that there are rights that should be treasured, prized, and never taken for granted.”
For those veterans and families of veterans who were unable to attend or were unaware of Saturday’s ceremony, please visit http://www.ct.gov/mil/site/default.asp and find the link for an application for a medal.