In Middletown, the Veterans of the Vietnam War put a call out to the community and hundreds answered. People from all across the state volunteered their time to place flags at the State Veterans Cemetery in honor of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America.
Michael Rogalsky, who served in the Vietnam War from 1966-1968, helped organize the event. "It’s an honor and a privilege to come out in place flags," Rogalsky said.
"To show my honor and respect for what they’ve done and it’s all my brothers and sisters who are here [and] who were willing to give up everything for our rights and freedom we enjoy today," he added.
For some Veterans, they enjoyed seeing the droves of people who came to pay their respects. "When you see them out here in the weather and in the cold, the way it is today, they are very patriotic people," said Allan Waters.
But for Waters, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1961-1963, it wasn't just a mesmerizing moment to see the crowds, but to spend this time with his grandchildren. "It’s nice to bring your young ones out so they know and learn about what it means to be here," said Waters.
Middletown resident David Bottaro felt the same way. "I think it was most important to be able to share this experience with the boys and show them how to properly teach respect and show respect for the soldiers in the men and women who are buried here," said Bottaro.
Th family of four has been attending the ceremony to place flags for the past four years and they were all determined to not let the rain get in the way of paying their respects. "The soldiers that were at war for us on our behalf, they didn’t get to choose whether or not they were battling in the rain, the cold and the elements. So I was the least we could do to come out and pay our respects rain or shine," said David Bottaro.
Over 13,000 flags were placed at the cemetery.