Salute to Veterans on Saturday at Havemeyer Field

Greenwich residents have the chance to kick off the Fourth of July festivities a little early this weekend at the annual Salute to Veterans.

The not-for-profit event, which pays tribute to veterans both past and present, is typically held on the Saturday before the Fourth of July. That means that this coming Saturday, June 30, the Havemeyer Field behind Town Hall will once again be filled with veterans from town and the surrounding area as well as an enthusiastic crowd looking to thank them for all they’ve done. After a hiatus, the event returned last year to great fanfare and organizers are hoping to make it even better this year.

The program is scheduled to begin early on Saturday with things getting underway at 9 a.m. and lasting until noon. The event will be capped off, as has become tradition, by a giant American flag being unfurled and held by the veterans in attendance.

But that won’t be the only feature of the day. According to Alan Sharkany, a former Marine who took over leadership of the event after it was founded by town resident Jim Carrier, there will be performances by the Liberty Belles, who have participated in U.S.O. tours on military bases all over the world, and there will be a special tribute paid to the World War II veterans in attendance. Carl Higbie, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and a Greenwich resident, will be a featured speaker.

The keynote speaker will be retired U.S. Army Col. Jack Jacobs. An analyst for NBC and MSNBC, Col. Jacobs is a Medal of Honor winner for his service during the Vietnam War where he, despite being wounded from mortar fragments to the head, repeatedly ran across rice paddies through heavy enemy fire to evacuate others. He is credited with saving 14 lives. The Medal of Honor is the highest commendation for valor presented by the United States’ government to members of the armed services.

The Board of Selectmen will be on hand for the event as will U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) a Greenwich resident and a former Marine. There will also be remarks by U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Weigold, whose participation will make the event a family affair. Admiral Weigold’s daughter Kelly will be teaming up with fellow Greenwich High School student Lizzy Trotta to present an art show at the event. Kelly and Lizzy are the presidents and founders of the Helping Encourage Remembrance of Extraordinary Soldiers (H.E.R.O.E.S.) Club at GHS, which is designed to increase awareness of veterans and all they do amongst today’s youth. The art exhibit will show the birth and growth of the nation’s military from the American Revolution to today.

As there has been in the past, military vehicles will be there for an up close look and those interested in serving will have the chance to meet with military recruiters.

Greenwich Police Officer Robert Iovanna is scheduled to sing the national anthem. Local singer Karen Wagner is also expected to perform.

The Salute to Veterans has become an extremely popular local event each summer. Mr. Sharkany, a Weston resident, told the Post in an interview last month that he was happy to have the chance to keep the tradition alive.

“I love being able to do this. I love to serve and give, and I feel both honored and humbled to have this opportunity,” Mr. Sharkany said.

The event is free to attend.

 

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