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‘Freedom isn’t always free.’ Danbury veterans break ground on new Afghanistan and Iraq War memorial

Posted on January 27, 2024

Members of the Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund met in Danbury on Saturday to break ground on a new memorial for those who have served overseas.

After learning that Connecticut has no memorials for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, Danbury veterans decided to lead the effort to properly memorialize those who served.

The space outside Danbury’s recreation center is a walking history lesson of the city and nation’s involvement in foreign wars. Its newest addition will be among the most ambitious.

“The idea behind this is to create a quiet space within a park…We wanted to have a space for [veterans] to bring their family to reflect on that time they spent away, and the sacrifices they made for our great country,” said David Vieira, the chairman and president of AIVWMF.

It’s been more than 20 years since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. Organizers said they hope this space will be a place of reflection for veterans and offer a chance for younger generations to learn more about two of America’s longest wars.

“By learning about the conflicts that we both served in, and showing that history throughout the other conflicts here, we can learn how to prevent or avoid that down the line,” said Juan Rivas, of Danbury Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 149. “Show them that freedom isn’t always free.”

The Danbury VFW is also spreading the word about this new memorial and what it means for the community.

“I know it means the world to everyone that I served with. Even though they’re not from here, just sharing the story has inspired them to do the same in their home state,” said Juan Vasquez, Danbury VFW Post 149.

“Danbury should be a model for our entire country. I’m going to take this picture with me to Washington D.C. this week and say here is what we need for our entire country,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

The team aims to dedicate the monument on Memorial Day weekend.

By: Tom Krosnowski and Robyn Karashik


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