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New Canaan Veterans Talk Features Healer & Warrior

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — Dr. Norman Hugo has his own unique perspective on Memorial Day and the sacrifices of those who serve their country in war.

Yes, it’s about remembering those who "have paid an enormous price," the physician told an assembly of students during a Memorial Day program at New Canaan High School.

But it's also about remembering those who return with horrible injuries, said Hugo, who served as an assistant chief of plastic surgery at Walter Reed Hospital during the Vietnam War. He spoke as one of the panelists at Friday's annual program.  

The injuries inflicted by today’s weapons leave soldiers scarred for life, he said.  “These are patients who come home and they are partially dead. We must also honor these people,” he said.

Vietnam and Gulf War vet Peter Langenus invited students to join him at Lakeview Cemetery after the town’s Memorial Day parade “to think and give thanks” to the soldiers who died in combat. Langenus, who served in Vietnam and later a colonel in the Army Reserve during Operation Desert Storm, said that when he visits, he thinks of the warriors and their families.

“I think of all the soldiers that I served with in two wars, and I think of those who didn’t come home,” he said. “I think of them and all that they have sacrificed.”

Christopher Cogswell, a driver for the New Canaan schools who served in the Army during Operation Desert Storm, gave tribute to the soldiers and to the people who take time to honor them every year. “What Memorial Day really means to me is the people who celebrate it for us,” he said. 

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