Town celebrates return of flags to Mianus River Bridge

For everyone curious about when the American flags would be returning to the Mianus River Bridge in Cos Cob, the answer is … now.

This past Friday members of the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company and others placed the flags on both sides of the bridge and, if all goes according to plan, they will remain there through November, covering the time from Memorial Day through Veterans Day. The flags along the length of the bridge became extremely popular when they were first placed there last year and when the volunteers put up the brand new flags they were greeted with supportive honks and thumbs-up from several drivers passing through the heavily trafficked portion of Route 1.

The flags were all purchased by the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company and Chief John Pugney told the Post that the entire company has embraced the spirit of the project. Not only did the presence of the flags send a patriotic message last year but it also made the area near the bridge a perfect spot for ceremonies to welcome home returning veterans, like last summer when U.S. Marine Sgt. Jeff Smeriglio came back to town after serving in Afghanistan.

“We want to give the men and women in the service the respect they deserve,” Chief Pugney said. “They don’t get enough of that for everything they do to ensure freedom for our country. I know when I see these flags up as I drive by it makes me proud to be an American. It gives me chills and you can really see that the town feels the same way. So many people have reacted to this with support and encouragement for us to do this. When you see those flags caught in the wind blowing across the bridge it really gives you goosebumps. It’s a great feeling.”

Last year the flags went up right before Memorial Day as well and Chief Pugney said that not only was it the appropriate weekend to do it, it really “starts summer off right.”

The members of the fire company were joined by several residents, including State Rep. Fred Camillo (R-151), Marine veteran Christopher Hughes and Selectman David Theis.

Putting up the flags last year was Mr. Theis’ idea after a resident suggested the bridge would make a perfect spot to put a Greenwich spin on a similar project in Westport. Mr. Theis worked with the Masonic Lodge and the volunteer firefighters to make it a reality, and this year the project was taken over completely by the fire company.

“It’s really something wonderful to see,” Mr. Theis said. “Volunteers are the backbone of any community, especially in Greenwich, and it’s great to have them do this to help commemorate, celebrate and appreciate the servicemen and women and all the sacrifices they’ve made. We can live in peace and freedom because of them and it’s only right that we have a small symbol of our appreciation here in town.”

The bridge happens to be along Mr. Theis’ regular route to work, meaning he will be able to see the flags just about every day. He said that’s something he’s really looking forward to and that the support passing drivers gave them as they put the flags in place was really meaningful.

“It makes me feel really good about our community and our volunteers,” Mr. Theis said. “I remember last November after they were taken down, I would drive through and think ‘Something’s missing’ because it looked so bare. We received so many positive comments last year about how our citizens liked it and everyone wanted to know when they were going to come back. It shows just how much this gesture is appreciated by our town. I can’t thank the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company enough for their support for this project. It really speaks well of them and our entire community here in Greenwich and when I see how much people have embraced this project I get a lump in my throat.”

 

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