More than 200 people, many in uniform, gathered at God’s Acre a crisp, sunny morning Friday for New Canaan’s Veterans Day ceremony. Led by VFW Post 653 Commander Peter Langenus, a U.S. Army captain in Vietnam who also served as a colonel during Operation Desert Storm, the ceremony included remarks from Desert Storm veteran and Saxe Middle School educator Christopher Cogswell as well as First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Lisa Melland, regent of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, presentation of the flag by the New Canaan Police Department Color Guard, a tolling of the bells in First Congregational Church by Linda Avgerinos and a reading of the poem “In Flanders Field” as well as the names of New Canaan veterans who have passed in the past year (full list below). Cogswell, a third-generation New Canaanite and ’86 NCHS grad who works as a special needs assistant and recess supervisor, in his remarks opened a discussion about what he called “two words that are a common virtue in all of us, ‘uncommon valor.’ ”
“The meaning of these words usually starts with an oath or a pledge: ‘I do solemnly swear,’ or ‘on my honor,’ ” Cogswell said, standing at a podium in front of the Wayside Cross, a monument to World War I veterans that was erected in 1923 at the foot of God’s Acre. “In combat I learned that uncommon valor was a common virtue. Real heroes are the quiet men and women of action and duty.