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Trumbull Thanks Its Veterans

Three ceremonies honored veterans.

Graduate and U.S. Army Capt. Peter Brake was an attorney when the Twin Towers were destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But the 38-year-old Trumbull resident quit and enlisted in the Army, and he's been there ever since. He's traveled around the world and, now in the Judge Advocate General's Office, Brake comes home on weekends from Washington D.C. to spend time with his wife and son and daughter.

He's helping to prosecute the planners of 9/11 and other alleged terrorists, but he came home to his alma mater Thursday to pay respects to veterans. 

"It's like a reunion every weekend," Brake said of his weekend returns.

But there are some who never came home, and he and others packed the school's gym to remember them.

The school's annual event featured slides of service personnel from the Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and World War II and a choir sang all the songs associated with all branches of the U.S. military.

Joseph Yurechko, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, played "Taps" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on the harmonica. He also urged the students to avoid drinking and smoking.

CHS students also read "Last Letters Home," written by servicemen and women who died in action. 

U.S. Army Capt. Joshua Byers wrote home, "I see more courage in a day than I could have ever imagined before this." He added that he was chosed to lead 120 soldiers in battle.

"The greatest things in life are to love and be loved," he said.

U.S. Army Spc. Holly McGeogh told her mother she wanted be home Christmas shopping. and Pfc. Jesse Givens addressed one of his children and an unborn child. "The happiest moments in my life are with my family."

Students also thanked their relatives who served. One called her grandfather her mentor.

As for Brake, he has no plans to quit. "I kind of want to see it through," he said of the prosecution of the terrorists.

Meanwhile, Trumbull's state legislators, veterans and school officials gathered at Friday morning, where THS seniors were urged to volunteer, particularly at the West Haven Veterans Administration Hospital.

Speaker Thomas E. Lee, a former U.S. Army captain, said more veterans are surviving serious injuries and now need help. He called all veterans "courageous."

Finally, all the veterans in the audience gathered for a group photo after telling the audience what military branch they served in and where they served. One survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and said he watched 2,100 die when the U.S.S. Arizona was sunk.

Following that ceremony, a wreath was placed at the war memorial at .

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