Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha keynote speaker at Veteran Symposium

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MOH recipient Paul Bucha Photo: Eugenie Diserio
Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha was the keynote speaker at the New Canaan (CT) High School’s Annual Veterans Symposium on May 27,2011 that honored 80 veterans from every branch of the military.

From Eugenie Diserio’s article, Veterans Honored at NCHS Symposium in the New Canaan Patch:

"Medal of Honor recipients are no different than other people who believe in a better world," Bucha explained. "They refused to accept death and instead challenged destiny to change things."

"The lesson," he said, "is each of us has the potential to change this world."

Bucha and many of his fellow veterans of the Vietnam War were not welcomed nor thanked when they returned home. Today his mission is to insure veterans in combat or not receive the respect and thanks they deserve for their service.

"Never again will we allow a nation to forget," he said.

Principal Tony Pavia, who organized the event stated:

"These are heroes you have in front of you today, all of these people at the same age as you, left their homes to go to parts unknown," he said.

Pavia asked the students to remember what this weekend is all about -- to honor people who gave their lives for our country.

The ceremony also featured a performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Band from Parris Island.

Pavia said he brought in the Parris Island Marine Corps Band to honor the 80 veterans who came to the event. The band played a medley of the songs from each branch of the military. The veterans stood up when their song was played.

After the ceremony Mr. Bucha signed copies of the book, "Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty."

MOH recipient Paul Bucha and New Canaan High School Principal, Tony Pavia are both members of the Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, which is in the process of raising funds to erect a bronze statue in Stamford, CT of Master Sergeant Homer L. Wise awarded the Medal of Honor on June 14, 1944. Sergeant Wise was one of the most decorated infantrymen of World War II.

Read the rest of the article on The New Canaan Patch

Photo credit: Eugenie Diserio, About Town, New Canaan Patch

A fitting honor for Stamford's quiet hero

Monday, June 13, 2011

Published 06:56 p.m., Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Stamford Advocate


No single event had a greater impact on the citizens of Stamford than the Second World War. In a town of approximately 60,000 people, over 10,000 young men and women served their country during the war. They came from all socio-economic backgrounds, all races, religions, and political affiliations. They fought in every corner of the world and contributed as much as any town to the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan. In many respects this was Stamford's finest hour.

Of the 10,000 courageous Stamfordites who served their country, none embodies the virtues of the quiet humble citizen soldier more than Homer Wise. This adopted son of Stamford earned the highest honor given in combat, The Medal of Honor. Just as important, after his years in the military were over, he became a model citizen, a beloved friend and neighbor and to many in Stamford, as much a hero out of uniform as he was in it.

Now, through the efforts of the Homer Lee Wise Committee, a six-foot, three-inch statue is being created in honor of this great American. The figure will show not the face of a man at war, but rather, that of an ordinary young man, who like so many other young men of the time, was called upon to do extraordinary things, the everyman who embraced greatness.

There has been much discussion about a suitable location for the statue of Mr. Wise. It is imperative that it be placed where it would have maximum visibility and broad exposure to the citizens of Stamford.

No place would be more fitting than in Veterans Park in downtown Stamford. This is an ideal location, one where the citizens of Stamford, particularly young children, would be able to look upon a man who represents the very best qualities of the "Greatest Generation." They would be able to read about his valor on June 14, 1944 in Magliano, Italy, where Homer Wise repelled several German attacks and almost single-handedly saved his platoon. They can learn, not only about the courageous acts that led to his Medal of Honor, but also of the numerous other acts of heroism that led to the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters and 10 other decorations. There might also be a small space in the park that would house Mr. Wise's medals, and maybe even serve as a place to honor all Stamford veterans.

The park would also have special historical significance because of its symbolic importance during World War II. It was, after all, the site of the largest patriotic gathering in the history of Stamford. On Memorial Day 1943 an estimated 10,000 citizens gathered at the Old Town Hall to witness the unveiling of the "Stamford Service Roll" in "Central Park." At the time the Service Roll had 5,555 names of Stamford servicemen and women on it. By war's end it would have 10,000 names. That structure was torn down in 1952 and in 1977 it became the site of Veterans Memorial Park, a fitting, solemn and elegant tribute to Stamford's war dead.

Homer Wise spent a fair amount of time in the area, where he served as an Army recruiter. It was not uncommon for people to see this modest man of celebrity, leaving his work at the Old Town Hall and walking across the street to the popular coffee shop Chat `n Chew, both of which faced the present Veterans Park. What better and more relevant location can there be?

It is no secret that Mr. Wise never discussed his Medal of Honor, and in fact his own son only learned of it when he was told by one of his teachers. He was simply never comfortable with his own fame and right up to his untimely death in 1974 he, like all veterans of Stamford, never acknowledged his own heroism. That is all the more reason for us to acknowledge him.

The statue of Mr. Wise is close to completion and needs a permanent home. It is only fitting that we place his likeness in Veterans Park, where Mr. Wise can face his fallen comrades. In giving him such an honor, we not only insure that his memory is honored but also the memory of the other 10,000 Stamfordites who answered their country's call to duty. When future generations of Stamford's children look into the face of Mr. Wise, they will see the perfect embodiment of every humble unassuming hero in Stamford. Such a tribute will do what all historical monuments should do: serve as a link between the past and the present, and a reminder to all of us of the debt we owe those who made this a better world for us.

In choosing this prominent location as a place to honor Mr. Wise, we have an extraordinary opportunity to pay tribute to a man who represents all that we love about Stamford, someone who understood that sometimes we are called upon to make sacrifices for a cause greater than ourselves.

If you would like to make a donation to the bronze statue of Homer L. Wise, please visit

Tony Pavia, a Stamford resident, is a member of the Homer Lee Wise Committee.

Read the article on The Stamford Advocate

Copyright 2011 The Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, Inc.