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PHOTO — West Haven Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, flanked by members of the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard, left, delivers remarks during the dedication of the 13th phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park late Saturday afternoon, June 5. (City Photo/Andrew Kosarko)
WEST HAVEN, June 8, 2021 — Joined by West Haven Veterans Council members and city officials, more than 200 veterans and their families from across the state and beyond turned out for the dedication of the 13th phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park late Saturday afternoon, June 5.
Amid a radiant sky and a warm summerlike breeze, the seaside ceremony, postponed from a week earlier because of rain, featured remarks by Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and Veterans Council President Dave Ricci.
Rossi’s executive assistant, Louis P. Esposito Jr., served as the master of ceremonies.
“It makes me proud and happy to gather for this ceremony,” Rossi told the crowd. “If you are from West Haven, you will surely recognize many names engraved (on the brick Walk of Honor). It is literally a walk down memory lane, and I hope you’ll take time to experience that.
“So while we dedicate this new phase to all veterans, let us especially remember those service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. God bless them, and God bless everyone here today.”
The half-hour ceremony commenced with a flag-raising by the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard, composed of members of the West Haven Fire Department, the West Shore Fire Department and the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown.
It followed with the singing of the national anthem by Nora E. Mullins, a prayer by Mullins’ father, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Steven R. Mullins, and the singing of “God Bless America” by Grace Kelly Nowak.
“Today we dedicate these bricks and we dedicate this day to the memory of those who felt that freedom was worth fighting for,” said Ricci, a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War. “God bless everybody, God bless America.”
Before the retiring of the colors, former West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon played taps.
After the ceremony, families lined the Walk of Honor to search for bricks they purchased in honor of loved ones. Each brick has a personalized message engraved in charcoal lettering.
In November 2006, the Veterans Council began the first of 13 campaigns selling bricks to memorialize vets on the 100-yard walkway between the William A. Soderman and Vietnam Veterans memorials.
About 2,850 bricks have been installed so far, including 130 for the 13th phase and 51 for the 12th phase, which was dedicated May 25, 2019. Last year’s ceremony was postponed because of the coronavirus.
In May 2015, the dedication of the eighth phase included the dedication of a granite stone in memory of Veterans Council President Lorelee “Lori” Grenfell, who died in 2015 at age 60. The memorial was crafted by Giordano Bros. Monuments of West Haven.
The Walk of Honor’s first phase and the city’s Korean War Memorial were dedicated in May 2007.
In May 2008, the walkway’s second phase and a memorial in honor of World War II Army Pfc. William A. Soderman were dedicated.
Soderman received the Medal of Honor after he distinguished himself in December 1944 while defending an important road junction near Rocherath, Belgium.
Four years after his death, on July 1, 1984, the flagpole in Bradley Point Park was dedicated in Soderman’s memory.
City Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo has overseen the construction of all phases of the walkway, which was built by City Point Construction Co. of West Haven.
Sabo has also supervised the design and placement of the granite Korean War and Soderman memorials, which were made by Shelley Bros. Monuments of Guilford.
Also in 2008, 14 grave markers signifying every war in U.S. history and peacetime were dedicated. The markers are mounted on granite posts.
Watch the “2021 Veterans Brick Ceremony” on West Haven YouTube.
— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator
West Haven Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, flanked by members of the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard, left, delivers remarks during the dedication of the 13th phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park late Saturday afternoon, June 5. (City Photo/Andrew Kosarko)
Members of the West Haven Fire Department Honor Guard salute. (City Photo/Alycia Sandella)
Former West Shore Fire Department Lt. Kevin McKeon plays taps. (City Photo/Alycia Sandella)
The Veterans Walk of Honor, Bradley Point Park. (City Photo/Alycia Sandella)