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Dead Honored at July 4 Ceremony

While people across the nation were firing up the grills and stocking coolers, a family from Bridgeport solemnly helped place flags at Saugatuck Congregational Church. The Fourth of July marked the final additions to the Field of Flags display before it is taken down on Tuesday.

Victoria Daniels was a friend of Spc. Tyanna Avery-Felder, and came to the church with Marques Daniels, Leonard Green and Mary Green to help honor the dead. Avery-Felder is one of the 52 Connecticut casualties the church is honoring with their own flags and name markers outside of the regular Field of Flags display.

Victoria, Marques, Leonard and Mary joined church members adding flags to the Connecticut memorial. They started with their friend, Avery-Felder. “We tried to get her family to come but it was just too emotional,” said Leonard.

Earlier in the day, 14 more flags had been added to the main field. They bring the total to 5,550, each representing a soldier killed in battle. Those added yesterday were for deaths that occurred most recently.

“When you see all of that, I just think of all the soldiers. It's very sad. Sometimes you almost forget how many have died,” said Leonard as he gazed across the red, white and blue adorned lawn.

Mary Ann West, Field of Flags organizer, said the installation, which comes down on Tuesday, has had a strong impact. The guest book holds names from all over the state and even a couple from Israel. She said there was no political message behind the display. “We're here to honor and pay tribute to our fallen, especially today on July 4. We do this in gratitude to those who serve,” West said.

Annie Fasanella helped plant the 14 flags, and wasn't the least bit shy about stating her opinions on the war. “You don't have to use bullets. You can use the end of your arm, an open hand,” she said.

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