Group Seeks to Build Monument for Iraq + Afghanistan War Veterans in Danbury
Recently I was introduced to a man named David Vieira. David is a veteran and the Chairman of the Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund.
The organization is made up of war veterans who are seeking to construct a CT monument that honors veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. First they set out to find out if there already was one anywhere in the country. They looked in the nation's capital and learned that there wasn't.
In fact, David told me that there is an obscure law that dictates that no war monument can be constructed in Washington D.C. until 10 years after the official end of a war. Seeing as the Afghanistan war did not officially end until 2021, no monument could be built to honor these heroes until 2031.
David and his friends, war veterans themselves, decided that Connecticut should be the home of the first monument of its kind. The fund's purpose is to raise money for its construction and lobby to ensure one gets built, and the Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund was born.
David Vieira told me the idea was born in a VFW bar, saying:
"One night at the VFW Bar myself, Juan Rivas, Juan Vasquez, Nelson Martins, and Thomas Saadi were talking about the project, took a bar napkin and started to sketch the concept for the monument and believe it or not the image you will see in the attachment is almost spot on to that drawing" that night."
This is the concept sketch below.
The Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund is a new non-profit 501C(3) charity organization that has already accomplished a lot. Below are some of the things David and his friends have already done:
-Created Facebook/Instagram Accounts and Website is being built
-Created a Givesmart fundraising platform
-Signed a partnership with Stony Creek Brewery and developed our own beer AO Lager that is currently available in the brewery tap room but will be available through distributors October 15th statewide, part of proceeds from every sale is going to our project
-Have been holding a fundraising BBQ at the VFW Post almost every Friday night
-Had the 3 nights of Dunk A Veteran Fundraiser at the San Gennaro Festival (thanks to the Galante family)
-Created T-Shirts for sale as a fundraiser (sweatshirts coming soon)
-Have met with Mayor Esposito and many other local/state politicians who have promised their support.
-Secured the monument site with the City of Danbury and Danbury Veterans Council, in front of the War Memorial Building near the existing war monuments
-Have our local AO Lager Launch Party scheduled at VFW Post 149 in Danbury for Friday October 28th 6pm-11pm, everyone is invited.
-Have our "Official" AO Lager Launch Party being hosted by Stony Creek Brewery at their private space on November 10th, that event is Invite Only (due to limited capacity)
-Our 1st Annual Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund Fundraising Gala is booked at the Waterview in Monroe, CT for April 22, 2023, tickets will be announced and go on sale soon.
David and the folks at Afghanistan Iraq Veterans War Memorial Fund are dedicated to this cause, saying:
"We want to create this monument as an permanent honor to the sacrifices so many Veterans and their family's have made over 20 years of war. We want a place for those Veterans, families and the community to visit and reflect on those sacrifices and to ensure it is never forgotten.
Many of us have had friends that we served with overseas who have died since we've been home and will never get to see their nation honor them in this way so if we can come together and work hard to get this done, we can make sure that never happens again."
The monument will cost approximately $250,000 and David told me they've set an ambitious dedication goal of November 11, 2023.