Across America, towns and communities are coming together in honor of the 30 U.S. service members who died in Afghanistan on August 6. One of them is Stamford, hometown of Navy SEAL Brian Bill.
A candlelight vigil was held at Trinity Catholic High School, in Brian’s memory.Bill finished high school at Trinity in 1997. Among those who spoke is Rev. Richard Futie, who described Bill as the son he never had. Rev. Futie had served as a Catholic priest at St. Cecilia’s Elementary School, where he first met Bill.
An emotional Futie ended his eulogy by saying: “Dear Brian… You were supposed to carry my coffin. But it is I who has to place your remains at rest.”
The vigil started off with the raising of the Stars and Stripes, by U.S. Navy Sea Cadets, as the National Anthem was being played. The flag was then lowered to half-mast, as a bugle player, bedecked in a military dress uniform, played “Taps.”
Just before 8 p.m., candles were lit as the sun was setting. In attendance were a group of Boy Scouts, who stood at attention to the left of the podium; war Veterans based in Stamford; and Bill’s former classmates and teachers. Politicians, such as U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and local Catholic leaders, such as Bishop William Lori, head of the Diocese of Bridgeport, also attended the vigil.
Sen. Blumenthal shared: “He was a warrior’s warrior… The stories and legends of the SEALs fail to do justice to the realities of what they do.”