PHOTOS: Memorial Day Marked with Series of Poignant Wreath Ceremonies in Greenwich

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.

Donald Repaci died in Vietnam in 1969. His family visited the pin oak tree planted by Parks & Rec in 2019 honor him.  May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

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.

Greenwich first Selectman Fred Camillo delivered remarks at the former Byram School on Memorial Day. May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Greenwich first Selectman Fred Camillo delivered remarks at the former Byram School on Memorial Day. May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

State Rep Harry Arora (R-149) and Greenwich Selectwoman Lauren Rabin at the Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony at the former Byram School, May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

State Rep Harry Arora (R-149) and Greenwich Selectwoman Lauren Rabin at the Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony at the former Byram School, May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Jack Juergens and his father Charlie attended the Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony at the former Byram School. May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

US Navy veteran Dean Gamanos and Kate LoBalbo, a member of the ARC and RTM at the Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School, May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Left, James, Joy and James Micik. at the marker for William George Patterson at the old Byram School. In 1944 Lieutenant Patterson, who went by Billy, was a member of the Army Air Corps. He was killed in China when a B-52 bomber that was shot down. “At least 12 men were in the plane,” said Joy Micik who has been attending the ceremony for at least 20 years. Billy Patterson was her mother’s brother. Photo: Leslie Yager

Matt Popp and Millie Tiriolo Popp at the Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School. May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Lynn Marie Giacomo at the Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School. May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Lynn Marie Giacomo at the Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School. May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Wearing masks to slow the spread of Covid-19, The Byram Veterans organized the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School where 13 markers bear the names of service members who attended the school. May 27, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Syl Pecora, Selectman Lauren Rabin and John Macri Sr at the Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School, May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Flags and a marker for Donald Repaci who lost his life at the age of 20 in Vietnam in 1969.  May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Greenwich Police Honor Guard at the Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School. May 25, 2020

Greenwich Police Honor Guard at the Memorial Day ceremony at the former Byram School. May 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

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.

Frank Cortese, Steve Meskers, Lauren Rabin, David D'Andrea, CT Governor Ned Lamont, and Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo at a wreath ceremony at Hamilton Avenue School. May 20, 2020 Photo Lindsay Keller

Frank Cortese, Steve Meskers, Lauren Rabin, David D’Andrea, CT Governor Ned Lamont, and Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo at a wreath ceremony at Hamilton Avenue School. May 20, 2020 Photo Lindsay Keller

Wreath at Hamilton Avenue School at the flagpole where a plaque honors the men and women who served the Chickahominy community in the US Armed Services with patriotism, loyalty and dignity. May 25, 2020 Photo Lindsay Keller