The following is an email, edited for the blog, which Dr. Velandy Manohar wrote to the staff at CHC that marched in the Memorial Day parade on Monday. Dr. Manohar is the proud parent of an active duty Marine Major and has served veterans nobly for many years. He has served as part of the Stand Down Event annually at the Rocky Hill VA hospital, and is well acquainted with the effects of war on our fellow Americans and their families who answered the call of duty. He has worked hard not only to care for, but also to celebrate the lives those who have served in our armed forces.
Good afternoon my friends and fellow marchers,
Congratulations to Karen, Hope, Art, Walt and Amanda and all others who made this year’s event a barn burner type experience. I am very proud of Hope’s role as captain of our team. She brought us all together and put a little spring in my step for sure and perhaps others as well.
It was a beautiful sunny day made to order for parades, fairs and picnics, not to mention for planting seeds. There were thousands gathered on both sides of Main Street from near O’ Rourke’s to the South Green. The crowd was several rows deep in some places. All of us who marched, Margaret, Mark and his family, Peter and his family, Apryl and her two kids, Callie, Nicole, Rachel, Olga, Brianna and Natasha had a great time. We distributed more seeds in a one mile walk faster than Mr. Johnny Apple seed did I would venture to say. We are certainly doing our part to honor our veterans particularly our Women Veterans and at the same time contributing to the greening of Middletown.
In this connection as I mentioned to Mark that I think it would be a great gesture if we could find a way for the AmeriCorps volunteers to plant some seeds in the plot where the McDonough School students will be doing some horticultural work of their own to memorialize the contributions of our AmeriCorps volunteers in many domains especially to the rousing success of this year’s CHC teams. I have one regret even though we won the coveted trophy.
I regret not thinking fast enough on my feet when I heard the announcement that CHC team had won the Trophy to get the daughter and son of Ms. Watford to the front of our small group to receive the trophy. Col. Schwartz, Commissioner of The Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs, in her speech had mentioned how important it was to bring our children into the process of inheriting the rich heritage of the USA and chose to be patriots like their forebears and parents. Ms. Watford is ex-Navy and their father is an active duty service member. I would have liked their children to receive the trophy from Col. Schwartz for this reason. In addition they would have moved from being witnesses to history being made to becoming participants in the writing of the next chapters of the American Narrative filled with patriotism, personal courage, and if the situation demands the ultimate sacrifice of oneself in the defense of Liberty. By the time I realized what I could have done the moment was long past and the next award was given. I regret this lost opportunity. This makes me aware there is always room for me to improve and there is no finish line for any of us in our strivings to do our best at any given moment.
I am extremely proud of the team and leadership of Mark and Margaret that made this a really memorable Memorial Day function for numerous people. This is good attempt to offer homage our bravest and best who laid down their lives on altar of freedom and offer support to their bereaved family members.