After the cheers and screams of excitement that accompany the Memorial Day parade subside, the mood at the Town Green will change to one of solemnity as the Fairfield pays tribute to the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend the freedoms of this country.

Leading the service will be Chaplain Frank E. Wismer III, a retired colonel who serves as the vicar of Christ Episcopal Church in East Norwalk. Wismer, who is also the chaplain for American Legion Post 12 of Norwalk, served in the U.S. Army for more than 25 years.

During that time, he was deployed to Operation Desert Storm, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; JTF Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Haiti; Operation Joint Forge, Bosnia; Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad, Iraq; and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Camp Arfijan, Kuwait. His military awards include the Combat Action Badge, the Bronze Star Medal and the Legion of Merit Medal.

Wismer recently returned from a year in Kuwait.

According to Episcopal Life newspaper, the colonel celebrated the Eucharist in the ornate palace where Saddam Hussein lived before he was driven from Iraq by American troops. Wismer's small, growing congregation was made up of civilians and service personnel: Iraqi, American, British, Korean and South African.

Wismer is also a published author. His book, War in the Garden of Eden, is a memoir of his time in the Middle East. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to assist with the ministry of St. George's Anglican Church, Baghdad.