Veterans Reflect On War — And Peace

Westport is awash in war stories.

This year’s WestportREADS library book — “Regeneration” — shines a light on a British officer’s refusal to continue serving during the “senseless slaughter” of World War I.

On January 28, the Westport Historical Society opens an exhibit honoring Ed Vebell. Now 96, the longtime resident was a noted illustrator during World War II. He’s drawn and written about the military ever since.

World Wars I and II — and Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan — come together at the WHS on Sunday, February 4 (3 p.m.). “On the Front: Veterans Reflections” offers insights into how war affects people, communities — and the peacetime that follows.

A panel of veterans — from World War II on — will provide their thoughts. But, says WHS education and programs director Nicole Carpenter — the hope is for plenty of questions and interactivity.

Ed Vebell is one of Westport’s honored — and few remaining — World War II veterans. Last May, he was grand marshal of the Memorial Day ceremonies.

“Obviously, the Historical Society’s mission is to remember where we’ve been,” she says. “But veterans are an important part of America today. Every discussion we have — whether it’s about foreign policy, healthcare, whatever — involves veterans.”

This is a poignant time in history, she notes. “We’re losing World War II veterans every day. We need to hear their voices before they’re gone.”

She hopes people will ask provocative questions — leading to an “open, progressive discussion.”

That’s important. After all, it’s what every veteran in history fought to protect.

5 responses to “Veterans Reflect On War — And Peace

  1. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Westport has Mr. Vebell, Mr. Sugarman, Mr. Silk, Mr. Munce, Mr. Gish as artistic treasures who survived the unsurvivable. Who have I left out?

  2. Tom Feeley Sr

    Great program
    The reality of a war zone never leaves a combatant and so gives veterans unique perspectives.
    Almost all are referred to as “good guys.”
    Thank you for your service 🇺🇸🇺🇸

  3. Bruce Allen

  4. Kendall Gardiner

    Most people have no frame of reference for war & combat, and I don’t think there is really anything that can prepare one for the reality.
    It is so much worse than anything I could have imagined, and the many disturbing experiences have never left me.
    Aside from the whole agent orange horror for Viet Nam Vets, most recently the VA has discovered that all soldiers in or even near explosions are susceptible to developing the same brain trauma and dementia as NFL players, and it can take only one explosion.
    That we could be thrust into a war with one careless tweet makes me want to vomit.
    I think I would have had a heart attack if I had been in Hawaii when the false alert was broadcast.
    Kendall Gardiner
    1Lieut, USANC /Viet Nam/ Veteran