Shelton American Legion post to host fallen heroes memorial

Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 in Shelton is preparing to host the Veterans & Athletes United Fallen Heroes Memorial in memory of America’s Global War on Terrorism casualties. The memorial will be at the Shelton Post in May, 2022.

Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 in Shelton is preparing to host the Veterans & Athletes United Fallen Heroes Memorial in memory of America’s Global War on Terrorism casualties. The memorial will be at the Shelton Post in May, 2022.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 is preparing to host the Veterans & Athletes United Fallen Heroes Memorial in memory of America’s Global War on Terrorism casualties.

Over the next few months, Post 16 Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Kellett said the local chapter will be organizing teams of volunteers, holding fundraisers and transforming the area around their pavilion into what will be treated as sacred ground for three days this May.

Kellett said Post 16, with financial assistance from the Valley Community Foundation, is bringing the Fallen Heroes Memorial to Shelton to “honor and remember the soldiers, sailors, airman and Marines whose names are on the Memorial, as well as the loved ones, and comrades in arms that they left behind.”

The Fallen Heroes Memorial will arrive in Shelton on May 12, according to Kellett, and will be assembled at Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post 16 the next day. It will depart on May 16.

The memorial will be available for viewing from 11 a.m. May 13 until sunset on May 15. The opening ceremony will be May 13 at 6 p.m. and will include a reading of the Valley Global War on Terrorism Casualties' names followed by a rifle salute and taps.

The closing ceremonies will be on May 15 at 5 p.m. and include the reading of all Connecticut Global War on Terrorism casualties followed by a rifle salute and taps.

Programs will be conducted at the memorial during the day and counselors from the VetCenter will be available for those who wish to talk. Security will be on site continuously to allow those who prefer to visit in the evening a quiet time to reflect. Visitors are urged to carpool if possible.

On Memorial Day 2018, Veterans & Athletes United (VAU) completed the traveling Global War on Terror (GWOT) Memorial Flag. It is VAU's way of honoring close to 7,000 Global War on Terrorism fallen heroes and gold star families, Kellett said.

“The hope is to raise awareness of the sacrifice paid by our nation's heroes that keep this country free and flying under one flag,” he said.

This 28-foot wide by 6-foot-tall American flag symbolizes the shape of the flag when draped on a fallen service members casket. It is formed of approximately 7,000 dog tags of all those who have fallen in the War on Terror. There are 50 gold stars honoring all gold star families nationwide. Displayed in front of the flag is a battlefield cross sculpted from mahogany wood by veteran artist Alicia Dietz.

Tags are in alphabetical order ranging from Sept. 11, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2019; thereafter the tags are in chronological order of the date the service member was killed in action.

“Sadly, as the war continues, they will continue to fill in the blank tags at the end of the flag,” Kellett said.

For their memorial flag, VAU used the DOD Global War on Terror DMDC Casualty List for all the names of the GWOT fallen heroes. For more information on the Fallen Heroes Memorial, visit https://www.vetsau.com/memorial

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com