Across Greenwich this Memorial Day weekend a series of wreath laying ceremonies honored the men and women who died in service to their country.
This year, in response to efforts to slow the Covid-19 pandemic, large gatherings including the annual Memorial Day parade in Old Greenwich, were canceled.
Instead, residents were invited to attend wreath laying ceremonies and maintain social distancing.
At the former Byram School, residents gathered wearing face masks, and paid their respects just as they have for many years.
Among those at the ceremony were the family of Donald Repaci who perished at the age of 20 in Vietnam in 1969. Repaci’s family were eager to visit the flourishing pin oak tree planted in 2019 to replace one damaged during a winter storm.
While participants were present to pay respect to members of the military who died while serving in the US Armed Forces, the milestone of nearly 100,000 lives lost to Covid-19 was a grim reality.
At the former Byram School the names of 13 former students who lost their lives in service to their country appear on brass nameplates under a series of majestic oak and sycamore trees
In 1978 the Byram School was closed due to declining enrollment and remained closed until 1988 when it was refurbished by the Town and became McKinney Terrace.
As part of the renovations, the markers were removed and placed together on a piece of marble, but residents objected, and the markers were returned.
In his remarks on Monday, Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo said, “The last time we went through something like this, we were ending World War I. It serves as a reminder that the one million men and women who have fought in all these wars and given their lives – as Ronald Reagan said – gave up not one life, but two lives, the ones they were living when they died and the one they would have lived.”
“Let’s remember their lives, their sacrifices and the example they set for all of us,” he added.
As per tradition, on Monday, the names of each of the 13 Byram School alumni who lost their lives in the service of their country was read aloud. The names included Weiby, Crucitti, Pecora, Tiriolo, Vrtiak, Steinmetz, Patterson, Arthur, Lambertson, Hrnciar, Dickens, Cotroneo and Repaci.
After each of the 13 names was read, the Byram Veterans fired a round. Lastly Taps was played and a prayer read.
Per tradition, on Monday, small flags were placed underneath each tree next to the marker to keep alive the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Earlier, a wreath laying ceremony at Hamilton Avenue School was attended by Steve Meskers, Lauren Rabin, Governor Ned Lamont, First Selectman Fred Camillo, David D’Andrea and Frank Cortese.