By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Because of inclement weather last weekend, members of the West Haven Veterans Council and city officials will now dedicate the 13th phase of the brick Veterans Walk of Honor in Bradley Point Park at 5 p.m. Saturday.
All veterans are invited to participate in the seaside ceremony, which will feature a presentation of the colors, an invocation and taps, as well as remarks by Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and Veterans Council President Dave Ricci.
The public is also invited.
Rossi’s executive assistant, Louis P. Esposito Jr., will serve as the master of ceremonies.
In November 2006, the Veterans Council began the first of 13 campaigns selling bricks to memorialize vets on the 100-yard Walk of Honor between the William A. Soderman and Vietnam Veterans memorials.
The bricks, which cost $75, have charcoal lettering for personalized messages.
About 2,850 bricks have been installed so far, including 130 for the 13th phase and 51 for the 12th phase, which was dedicated May 25, 2019. Last year’s ceremony was postponed because of the coronavirus.
In May 2015, the dedication of the eighth phase included the dedication of a granite stone in memory of Veterans Council President Lorelee “Lori” Grenfell, who died Feb. 19, 2015, at age 60. The memorial was crafted by Giordano Bros. Monuments of West Haven.
The Walk of Honor’s first phase and the city’s Korean War Memorial were dedicated in May 2007.
In May 2008, the walkway’s second phase and a memorial in honor of World War II Army Pfc. William A. Soderman were dedicated.
Soderman received the Medal of Honor after he distinguished himself in December 1944 while defending an important road junction near Rocherath, Belgium.
Four years after his death, on July 1, 1984, the flagpole in Bradley Point Park was dedicated in Soderman’s memory.
City Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo has overseen the construction of all phases of the walkway, which was built by City Point Construction Co. of West Haven.
Sabo has also supervised the design and placement of the granite Korean War and Soderman memorials, which were made by Shelley Bros. Monuments of Guilford.
Also in 2008, 14 grave markers signifying every war in U.S. history and peacetime were dedicated. The markers are mounted on granite posts.
Subsequent dedications have been held amid much fanfare, attracting hundreds of veterans and their families from all corners of the state and beyond.