After today’s parade — after all the police, firefighters and EMTs marched past; after all the Little Leaguers, Suzuki violinists and Y gymnasts romped by; after the Y’s Men’s perennial award-winning float brought tears to the eyes — several hundred Westporters headed to Veterans Green.
There — across from Town Hall, surrounded by the doughboy statue, monuments to war dead, and a flag at half-staff — the real meaning of “Memorial” Day took place.
With patriotic songs, insightful remarks, the laying of a wreath, a 21-gun salute and mournful “Taps,” we paid tribute to the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They are the reason we are here today.
Three veterans remember.
Staff sergeant Eric Rios.
First Selectman Jim Marpe acknowledges (from left) parade organizer Bill Vornkahl, grand marshal Larry Aasen, his wife Martha Aasen, and 101-year old veteran Ted Diamond.
Part of the large crowd at Veterans Green
Grand marshal Larry Aasen spoke about the horrors of war. In addition to his own experiences with the 13th Airborne Division, he spoke about his uncle’s death by mustard gas in World War I, and his brother who saw the concentration camps of World War II. “We all pray for peace,” Aasen said. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)
Parade organizer Bill Vornkahl (right) talks with a longtime Westporter. (Photo/Kat Soren)
Another veteran reflects. (Photo/Doris Ghitelman)
The doughboy statue in Veterans Green (Photo/Ted Horowitz)
A Staples High School bugler plays “Taps.”