Families who have lost a loved one killed while serving their country were honored today at the State Capitol. It's the second year for the ceremony organized by the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation
Thirteen Gold Star Families received wreaths from the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America. It's the same group that honors veterans by laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery and other locations across the U.S. during the holidays. At the State Capitol, the names of family members and their loved one were read one by one as volunteers with the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation presented the wreaths. "Gladys and Seferino Rivera, parents. And sisters, Naomi and Mariam, of Army Staff Sergeant Edwin Rivera killed at age 28." Rivera was a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard. His mother, Gladys, says he was killed during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. She says it's an honor to receive the wreath in her son's memory. "We're going to go straight to the cemetery and place that for him. It's been a year, well, 18 months. May 25, 2010. It feels like it was today." These Gold Star families are honored throughout the year by the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation. "See how they're sharing all of their stories? That's a good thing." Mike Mastroni of Trumbull created the foundation in 2005 as a tribute to fallen servicemembers from around the state. "Because freedom is not really free unless you have these courageous young men and women in uniform fighting for our freedom. These here paid the ultimate sacrifice so the least we can do is remember them." More information about the foundation can be found at ctfallenheroes.org.