The town of New Canaan celebrated veterans of all ages during Memorial Day. The Rev. Harold E. Masback III from the Congregational Church of New Canaan gave the invocation and benediction.

"The theme of our parade is `To remember with gratitude and honor the proud men and women who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces to protect and preserve a life of freedom for all Americans,' " First Selectman Jeb Walker said. "This year we welcome all Korean War veterans as the Grand Marshal."

The guest speaker at the event was Korean War veteran Peter Barrella, who currently works for the New Canaan High School security department.

According to his biography, Barrella, 78, was born in Port Chester, N.Y., after his father, Rocco, emigrated to the United States from Italy. His father worked as a coal and oil delivery man, and at the onset of World War II he became involved in building the Westchester County Airport.

Peter Barrella, on the other hand, graduated from Port Chester High School in 1952 and was quickly drafted into the United States Army. He was trained as a combat engineer at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. After graduating, he was sent to Korea and joined the Third Infantry Division. While there, he was a member of Charlie Company, the 10th Combat Engineers of the Third Infantry Division.

Barrella remained in Korea for two years of the war. He was on the front lines building bunkers, roadways and trenches for tactical and logistical units. He also participated in the famous Inchon Landing, the decisive battle that turned the tide of the war in the favor of the United Nations.

However, once the fighting ended, Barrella stayed in Korea to help build schools and churches for many of the refugees of the battle.

After returning to the United States, Barrella worked at a General Motors/Chevrolet plant in Tarrytown, N.Y. and soon after that created Barrella and Contino Floor Services in Norwalk. Barrella is married to Joahn McLoughlin, and they have two children. He has worked in the security department of New Canaan High School since 1998.

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