Memorial Day Parade New Canaan speaker recalls fallen friends
Retired U.S. Army Capt. Aaron Hall said he and his family chose to move to New Canaan because it reminded him of a Norman Rockwell atmosphere.
On Memorial Day, he paid tribute to his brothers in arms who did not return after serving with him in the Middle East during ceremonies at Lakeview Cemetery following New Canaan’s Memorial Day Parade.
In one case, an emotional Hall told of having to notify the wife and children of a family that earlier had welcomed him with open arms that their husband and father, who returned to the Middle East after retiring from military service, had been killed.
Hall served in the Army from 2004 to 2014, primarily with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Hall completed two combat deployments to Iraq during the campaigns of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. He also served on Foreign Internal Defense missions to the Middle East training fellow Special Forces.
During his first deployment to Iraq, in 2006-2007, he was responsible for planning, developing and executing 52 humanitarian aid projects, totaling $15.2 million, to the southern Iraq cities of Mahmudiyah, and Lutifiyah. These projects resulted in 20 new schools being built, 25 miles of new roads being paved, new bridges being built, modernization of the electrical grid, purification of water to remote villages and farmers, economic conditions supporting the development of city governance, numerous labor jobs being created and children returning to school.
From 2008 to 2010, Hall managed a 40-person Intelligence Detachment supporting 400 Special Forces operators on broad-based rapid deployment missions that ranged from the Horn of Africa to Western Afghanistan.
During Hall’s service, he received the Meritorious Service Medal, five Army Commendation Medals, two Valorous Unit Awards, a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Medal, two Iraqi Campaign Medals with Campaign Stars, an Army Service Ribbon, an Overseas Service Ribbon, a Parachutist Badge, a German Armed Forces Badge and German Language Proficiency.
Hall, his wife Kristin, and their two children, 2-year-old Abigail, and 6-year-old Theodore, moved to New Canaan in October 2018. He works at UBS Financial Services Inc. in Greenwich, and she works as a pediatric physician assistant in Stamford.
The parade was led by Grand Marshal Lisa Melland, who placed a wreath in memory of those who lost their lives in service during the ceremony at Lakeview Cemetery.
Melland, a resident of New Canaan for 23 years, served as regent of the Hannah Benedict Carter Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, in New Canaan for the last three years. He was recently elected to the office of Connecticut DAR state chaplain and appointed as a national vice chairman at DAR Headquarters in Washington, D.C.