Honoring veterans and defending our rights

The last two weeks have been very telling about our town. I attended two programs that really make you recognize and appreciate the people who live around us — even when you have never been introduced to them and to whom we owe a tip of the hat, handshake and big “thank you.”

The first program was held at Sutter-Terlizzi American Legion Post No. 16. Al Sabetta provided the Naugatuck Valley veterans of the Korean Conflict — let’s be honest, it was a war — with the recognition they deserved for their service.

A Marine colonel from the Pentagon presented certificates to all who attended. Those who were unable to attend will receive them through their specific veterans organization.

If you served and did not get a certificate, please contact your local American Legion.  Families of those who have passed also can request  certificates.

Those who were honored were humble and truly grateful to be recognized. They were brothers, cousins and friends who left home to train and fight for our freedom, knowing full well they may not return. At the ceremony, some could barely walk or stand as the certificates were presented.

One young Shelton soldier had been surprised to meet his childhood friend in Korea in a mess hall, cooking and serving GIs like himself who had just returned from a particularly tough battle. I guess it was a small world then, too.

Turnout at hearing

The second meeting of note I attended was a hearing on proposed ordinances at Shelton City Hall. Over 100 citizens came to the meeting. The subject was an ordinance regarding the carrying of firearms on city of Shelton property, including open space, trails and into public buildings.

Please be aware anytime an ordinance is proposed, it is introduced at a public hearing to offer the public an opportunity to provide their comments and suggestions.

No decision on this ordinance has been made yet, but It will be voted on at a future Board of Aldermen meeting (go to cityofshelton.org for more details).

The attendance was refreshing and very much appreciated, as we normally only see a handful of citizens and reporters. Ordinances normally affect everyone in the city, and the public’s input is appreciated.

The public portion of this hearing lasted almost two hours. Three people spoke on behalf of the ordinance and, per my count, 27 spoke against the ordinance.

Those speaking from both sides were passionate and very concerned about the proposed ordinance. Those in the audience listened intently, as did the aldermen.

What was so re-assuring was to encounter permit-holders, who had personally paid large amounts of money for their guns, safety courses and to register their firearms — and who are responsible, law-bidding citizens — wanting the alderman and the public to know they were concerned about many things and the slippery slope we stand on when we try to dismantle any part of the U.S. Constitution.

They were, to a person, ready and willing to defend themselves and the public from those that have it in their hearts to gun down our citizens, and invade our homes or property (personal, private or city owned).

They recognized the tragedies involving mass killings and use of deadly force during the last 10 years could not be stopped by this or any other ordinance or law restricting law -bidding firearms owners like themselves.

It also was re-assuring to know they, like our Korean War veterans, are so willing to aid others.

I am appreciative of their personal commitment to protect anyone, even without firing a shot but by having a firearm to hold an intruder at bay until authorities can be summoned.

Again I am glad I live in Shelton, a town like many others across the U.S.A. where the U.S. Constitution is still alive and well and defended with honor and respect without losing sight that caring for its veterans is important.

Anthony F. Simonetti is the chairman of the Shelton Republican Town Committee and serves on the Board of Aldermen.