Veteran Bill Vornkahl, 92, Westport’s perrenial parade-meister, attends the ceremony. (Photo by Jarret Liotta)

by Jarret Liotta

WESTPORT — A special ceremony Tuesday morning aimed to honor local veterans of the Korean War.

Hosted at the Westport Center for Senior Activities, the ceremony sought to pay homage to a group that did not see national recognition bestowed upon them as virulently as returning veterans after World War II.

Some of Westport’s Korean War-era veterans. (Photo by Jarret Liotta)

“It was never officially declared or officially ended … so sometimes the Korean War is called the Forgotten War,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who organized the event with the town of Westport.

The Westport Police Department’s color guard starts the ceremony. (Photo by Jarret Liotta)

“We hope that today we will take the opportunity to redress that wrong,” she said, noting there were approximately 500,000 living Korean War vets at this time, though their numbers decrease, on average, by 600 each day.

“We are here today to say thank you to you very brave Americans, who stepped forward to defend a country you never knew and a people you never met,” Bysiewicz said.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz emcees the ceremony Tuesday morning. (Photo by Jarret Liotta)

“You left your jobs, your families, your professions, the comforts of your life, to serve your country,” she said.

Other officials in attendance included State Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Stephanie Thomas, Thomas Saadi, commissioner of Veteran Affairs for Connecticut, and First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker.

Officials in attendance included, from left, Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas Saadi, State Rep. Stephanie Thomas, and State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg. (Photo by Jarret Liotta)

“It is an absolute honor to be here with you,” Tooker said.

“We are here to thank you for your courage and your selflessness … You’ve earned our gratitude many times over and we are forever in your debt,” she said.

Korean War era vet and former animal control director Peter D’Amico of Westport talks with friends at the ceremony (Photo by Jarret Liotta)