Solemn pg 1 6-3-21

Putnam native Henry Breault, the only submariner to be awarded the Medal of Honor, was honored during the Putnam Memorial Day program. A wreath was placed at the pedestrian bridge named after him. Linda Lemmon photos.
Flag Waving
Eva Capalvi, 7, in front, and Rylan Toye, 9, watch the Memorial Day parade. The rain held off most of the morning. More photos on page 4.

captions, page 4:
Page 1: Henry Breault. Above: The Toye and Capalvi families along the parade route. Melinda Capalvi (standing behind the baseball cap) is a retired,  U.S. Upper left: Normand Perron gives veteran and mayor Barney Seney a ride in the Memorial Day Parade.
American Legion Department of Connecticut Senior Vice Commander (U.S. Navy) Jeff DeClerck, left, and MC Roy Simmons, lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Putnam High School band drummer plays the Navy Anthem.

By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor
PUTNAM — In his welcome to the standing-room only audience at the town’s Memorial Day program, veteran Barney Seney said, “Please thank any veteran who served. That’s why we’re here today — to honor our fallen veterans.”
Seney, Putnam’s mayor, said he often thinks about his service in Vietnam. “I think about my lieutenant and others that we lost.” After returning, he said it was “hard for me and for other veterans to talk about our experiences.” They didn’t want to relive the horrors.
A short parade from Canal Street stopped at the Henry Breault pedestrian bridge off Kennedy Drive to honor his memory with a wreath and then proceeded to the program at the Riverview Marketplace pavilion. This year’s Memorial Day event honored Putnam native Henry Breault who received the Medal of Honor.
Keynote speaker Jeff DeClerck, a U.S. Navy vet, submarine division, enlisted the audience into the Navy so they might understand what it’s like for submariners and Breault. Submarines at sea, he said, are a world onto themselves. Each submariner is keenly aware of the responsibility they each have. “You could be the one person who saves the crew.” DeClerck is the American Legion Department of Connecticut senior vice commander.
DeClerck described how Breault was leaving the submarine USS O-5, which had been in a collision near the Panama Canal in 1923. But he realized that a shipmate was still inside the linking submarine and went back into the sub, closing the hatch behind him. It took more than 30 hours for them to be rescued. Three shipmates died. Petty Officer Breault was the first submariner to receive the Medal of Honor and the only enlisted man to receive it for heroism while serving as a submariner.
“He was a local resident, a hero — and only 23 years old.”
Hans Lowell, VFW Post 1523 commander, said Memorial Day mourning was deeply personal as well as a national. “We can never let down our guard,” he said. “This does not end when we come home from war.”
Brian Maynard, American Legion Post 13 commander, recounted how he contacted a veteran on the other side of the country, looking for information. They didn’t know each other but the gentleman went above and beyond to help Maynard. “That speaks volumes about the brotherhood,” Maynard said.
Roy Simmons, lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy (ret.) and a selectman, was the master of ceremonies. The Putnam High School and Putnam Middle School bands played and a video presentation on Breault’s naval career was played.


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