DANBURY—Honoring veterans for their sacrifice and service has always been a tradition at Immaculate High School (IHS). This year the school held a special tribute and created a Hill of Honor to show its appreciation for its alumni, staff and family members, and members of the general community, who have served to protect and defend us.
Immaculate High School planned and prepared for the heartfelt tribute for weeks. The Concert Band and choir practiced the Stars & Stripes Forever and National Anthem to perfection, as did the A Cappella Club, Immacupella, with their rendition of God Bless America. The Concert Band also performed an original service music medley. Commemorating veterans related to the Immaculate Family, the school lined its hillside with over 100 American flags adorned with a yellow ribbon each with the name of a veteran.
Mary Maloney, IHS President, welcomed everyone and introduced the speakers after a prayer by IHS Deacon Jeff Font, chaplain. The longest serving Mayor of the City of Danbury, the Honorable Mark D. Boughton, a former U.S. Army Reserve Sergeant, offered his sincere thanks for the service of Immaculate’s veterans, and asked students to make important connections. “When you think of a veteran, think about how the greatest gift to give to our country is the gift of their own lives for our freedom, peace and rights,” he said. Mayor Boughton noted that those who did not return from war or conflict lost two lives, one on the battlefield and the one they could have lived back home. “They gave that up so we can be here today — so think about the sacrifices of the veterans of yesterday and of those who serve today, for they are the true heroes of this country,” he said.
IHS alumnus and keynote speaker Thomas J. Saadi ’88, acting commissioner of Veterans Affairs, told the students that we would not have any day free or democratic without our veterans. “Sometimes we forget to support veterans, service people and their families, but we must not forget that it is not the veterans who start the war, but they were the ones that fought and sacrificed so much,” Mr. Saadi said. “There should be no more forgotten wars, families or veterans—regardless of your political beliefs, it is an honor and privilege to serve those who serve us, and our duty as a nation to continue to support and serve our veterans,” he stressed. “At Immaculate, I learned Respect, Responsibility and Reverence, and I brought those principals with me during my time defending our country—our school fosters service to community, country, each other and God,” Mr. Saadi told the students.
Prior to his appointment as acting commissioner, Mr. Saadi served as chief of staff and general counsel for the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, and he currently serves as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve and on the Danbury City Council. He has received several awards and commendations including the Meritorious Service Medal and multiple Army Commendation and Army Achievement medals. Acting Commissioner Saadi is a member of American Legion Post 60 in Danbury and Catholic War Veterans Post 1042 in Danbury.
For a truly personal touch, several IHS students then read reflections from alumni veterans and active military members about how their service impacted their lives and how they appreciate the support they receive from the community. The students were Eliana Assaf ‘19 (Danbury), Patrick Cropsey ‘18 (Ridgefield), Angella Kousidis ‘19 (Sandy Hook), Audrey Sedensky ‘18 (Newtown), Wesley Scriven ‘18 (Sandy Hook) and Ronan Doherty ‘18 (Danbury). IHS Principal Dr. Patrick D. Higgins closed the ceremony.