Memorial Day 2018: The Ceremony

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.”

6 responses to “Memorial Day 2018: The Ceremony

  1. Caryl Beatus


  2. J.W. Kaempfer

    I was there until 69’


  3. Michele Solis

    Beautiful Dan.

  4. Sharon Paulsen

    Back in my 1980’s Staples High Marching Band (Memorial Day parade) experiences, I remember always being moved (with goosebumps) when one of our talented trumpet players did the “Taps” during the ceremony.

    And heck, I was only a teenager … but boy oh boy, that was a moment for me.

    We had the amazing Jack Adams back then, and probably also one of the most kick-A marching bands of Staples (or Westport’s) history (I am slightly biased, of course, heh).

    Thanks, Dan, for all of your holiday posts this weekend. Wonderful!!

  5. Kelley Spearen

    These are beautiful Dan

  6. Barry Tashian

    This is great – I did not know Ted Diamond was still with us!